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Jasper County Tribune

Red Bridge updates discussed at Colfax City Council workshop

Colfax Mayor David Mast sits in at a city workshop meeting Wednesday night at 19 E. Howard St.
Colfax Mayor David Mast sits in at a city workshop meeting Wednesday night at 19 E. Howard St.

Colfax City Council held its monthly workshop April 3 partly to discuss a resolution for its Red Bridge project.

Joe Otto came to the workshop to contribute to the Red Bridge resolution. Otto said he drafted the plans after meetings with the auxiliary park board weeks ago, on the best approaches to take.

“The action item from that meeting was to draft a resolution the city council could review and possibly vote on next city council meeting,” Otto said.

Otto indicated there would be no cars driving over the bridge, it would only be for pedestrian use. That would mean no inspections would be required since the bridge would not be for highway use.

The decision was also made to move the bridge to inside the park.

“I’ve communicated with SHPO since this change was made and they’re requiring us to reapply,” Otto said. “There’s no guaranteeing they will approve the project. If they don’t approve it, that doesn’t kill it. That just eliminates a few sources of funding that could be applied for.”

According to a previous Jasper County Tribune story, a U.S. Geological Survey indicated the South Skunk River in Colfax reached 18.3 feet July 1, 2018, about two feet above flood stage. The river did not breach the city’s levy, but Colfax Public Works Director Bob Rhone noted the standing water in the Jasper County Fairgrounds and stress put on the city’s stormwater system.

Jasper County Emergency Management Coordinator Jim Sparks said about 300 to 350 homes in Jasper County sustained some type of water damage — primarily from excessive rain and groundwater infiltration into basements, as well as sewer back-ups in mid-July.

For a long time, Otto’s main concern is if a flood gets high enough to make contact with the historic Red Bridge near Reasnor and causes it to break and collapse. The bridge is about 20 miles south of Colfax, crossing over the Skunk River.

After the workshop, councilwoman Karla Jones expressed her concern about losing Colfax residents due to a lack of availability for houses.

“I know we’re working on this and I know it’s a priority, but I was just saddened to hear that we had a couple from town that sold their property went door-to-door seeing if people would sell,” Jones said. “There’s nothing to buy and nothing to build, so they’re moving to Newton. We just don’t like to lose citizens that have been here (for a long time).”

Contact Orrin Shawl at 641-792-3121 ext. 6533 or at oshawl@newtondailynews.com

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