Fundraising efforts underway to repair historic bridge
A historic bridge in the Town of Neversink is in danger of collapsing. Our Venise Toussaint tells us what the town and community members are doing to try to preserve it.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
NEVERSINK, N.Y. -- Built in 1912, the Halls Mills Bridge in the Town of Neversink is the youngest of only 21 covered bridges left in the state and many are fighting to keep it standing.
“It’s just so easy for history to get chopped up and sent down the stream,” said Donna Freeland, President of the Covered Bridge Society.
“It’s important to people to have some of their history saved,” added Neversink Town Supervisor Mark McCarthy.
The bridge was used by settlers to transport logs to mills in the early 1900s and was retired from vehicle use in 1963. It's now deemed unsafe for even pedestrians to walk across. Extensive damage from Hurricane Irene has many fearful that is may soon collapse.
“It’s a miracle that it did not fall into the river,” McCarthy said.
Storm waters have washed away much of the bridges stacked stone abutment, the 90 ton landmark is now barely hanging on, the mild winter saving it from complete erosion. FEMA estimates repairs would cost $400,000 and has agreed to put up 75 percent of that, leaving $50,000 to be funded by the state and county each.
“The county obviously didn’t budget to fix a bridge that was not broken not long ago and the town is in the same boat. We didn’t budget either,” McCarthy said.
So to raise funds, the town has teamed up with community members to sell save the Halls Mills Bridge bags for $20 each, with half of the proceeds going towards repairing the bridge. They’ve also received donations. To date, the town has raised about $6,500.
Though critics say spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a bridge which isn’t in use is a waste, supporters say preserving history is important and they’ll keep pushing until the Halls Mills Bridge repair is fully funded.
“People love the bridge and they want to see it maintained before it falls into the river,” Freeland said.
A luncheon fundraiser will take place in August on the bridge's 100th anniversary.
For more information about the bridge or how to donate, log onto hallsmillscoveredbridge.com.