Letter to the Editor

LETTER: Residents want Bowling Green bridge issue resolved

Sunday, July 17, 2016

To the editor:

This letter is in response to Karen E. Stearley's letter to the Editor, published in The Brazil Times on July 5, 2016. As a Bowling Green resident, we are again in shock and awe of the ability our antiquated and substandard bridge has on the people outside of our community.

Ms. Stearley mentioned in her correspondence that Bowling Green has the potential of becoming an area of "opportunities of economic development" if the bridge remains in its current location. We find it hard to believe that any small community wouldn't have a chance; If the residents would come together and work to make it so. Center Point, Asbboro, Carbon or Harmony could build an attraction for travelers. The Nashville community has been our weekend destination for over 40 years, on more occasions than we can count -- but we don't ever remember seeing a bridge there. The type of "economic development" Ms. Stearley is talking about doesn't require a bridge.

Ms. Stearley misunderstands the "opposition" to the bridge remaining in its present place -- it has little to do with taxes. Our county commissioners have already stated that they will not maintain the bridge if it remains. Then who will? The opposition comes from the fact that if it's not being maintained while in use by the public, it's easy to see that it will not be maintained while it's just setting there. Then there will be a dangerous eyesore for our community to live with. We heard people outside our community state that they want to see a recreational area made out of the bridge, allowing fishing and kayaking. Well, after living in our community for many years, and NEVER seeing ANYONE fish or kayak in the muddy Eel River before, that plan seems hard to comprehend.

As it stands, the bridge as is, could be deemed unsafe and closed by the state at a moments notice. This leaves our community in a lurch, to say the least. ANY trip to the west requires an extra 20-25 minutes on narrow, rough county roads, adding wear and tear to our vehicles and requiring extra money for gas for added mileage. Some farmers can't even access their fields on the other side of the river. How many of the people OUTSIDE of the Bowling Green community have to deal with this major daily inconvenience? Yet the longer they fight to keep the bridge, the longer they are hampering the state's efforts to solve the problem.

Although we might sympathize with Ms. Stearley's frustration with INDOT's plan for the Bowling Green bridge, it doesn't even come close to the frustration we residents of Bowling Green experience when there isn't a feasible way to cross the river on State Road 46. We are asking that the public make a call to INDOT's Cultural Resources Office at 317-232-5215 and ask them to stop dragging their feet on this project and allow a new functioning bridge to be built as soon as possible.

Marvin and Susan Clarke, Bowling Green