The bridge, at the end of the park’s cobblestone drive is over a channel put in over 100 years ago, reportedly by the railroad to divert the Rock River when they were building their trestle, thereby creating the island that gave Island Park its name.
But the bridge is over 100 years old, and is quite possibly beyond repair. The council has had several companies and government agencies look at the bridge to inspect it and come up with ideas about what to do so that people can still use the park’s historic entrance.
Rock Rapids mayor Jason Chase says since it functions as a partial dam, the Army Corps of Engineers needs to know exact figures for how much water flow goes under the bridge, and then they need to make any new bridge do the same. He says it would be much easier if they had the original plans for the bridge. But since they do not, Chase says engineers from DGR are making measurements and are trying their best to come up with figures.
Chase says since the bridge doesn’t lead anywhere except into the park, and isn’t really a trail, it’s not eligible for most grants. The one funding source that would be available would be Grand Falls Casino gambling funds distributed through the Lyon County Riverboat Foundation.
But Chase says they need to have all their “ducks in a row”. For the foundation, they need to know how much it’s going to cost. To know that, they need to know what they need to build, and to know that, they need to know the flow figures.
He says it’s a long process, but the council knows the bridge is important to residents and other users of the park. He says they hope to be able to apply for the next round of Riverboat Foundation Grants.