Stone Bridge is in the hands of the supervisors

Express Editorial

     Bringing several concerned voices to the table to discuss the future of Ely’s Stone Bridge was a smart move on the Jones County Supervisors’ side. It’s clear they do not intend to make any hasty decisions without gathering all of the facts beforehand.

     There are many people associated with Stone Bridge: the Ely Stone Bridge Society of Jones County, the Friends of Stone Bridge, the Jones County Historic Preservation Commission, as well as numerous citizens with family ties to the bridge.

     This isn’t the first major bridge project the Commission has taken on. They were successful in the relocation of Hale Bridge to its new home at Wapsipinicon State Park in Anamosa. Now, they simply want to save another piece of county history, Monticello history.

     The Foundation and Friends groups both have the same mission as well: to save Stone Bridge. They do not want to see it demolished. They do not want to see it ignored so that deterioration continues in the coming years. They also want to see the grounds around the bridge turned into a roadside park of sorts; a place for people to come and see the historic structure, spend time in the area, get away from hustle and bustle of life.

     A park isn’t just something that can be done without the necessary resources: money and professionals. The Foundation and Friends have been already raising money and applying for grants. And Jones County Conservation has stated they would be willing to help with a project like this, giving Conservation a presence in the northwest part of the county. However, Conservation has a lot on its plate at the moment. Stone Bridge is not a priority at the present time.

     Having the University of Colorado-Denver come in and survey and assess Stone Bridge was a smart move for the county. The work the University and its team of engineers and students already completed to date saved Jones County in excess of $75,000, if not more. With Stone Bridge Road seeing barely over 100 vehicles a day on the south side of the bridge, that does not make it a highly-traveled road, much less a highly traveled paved road for Jones County. If the county were to actually spend that $75,000, any work to the bridge may not have been a priority at a cost like that.

     With so much information to digest, facts to consider, finances to look into, Ely’s Stone Bridge is now in the hands of the board of supervisors. It is their job to make an informed decision, one that is the best for all of Jones County. The board’s decisions don’t just affect those living near Monticello; they affect everyone in the county. Is the entire county in favor of putting tens of thousands of dollars or more into this bridge project? That is just one of the many questions the supervisors will have to ask themselves before coming to a conclusion.

     It won’t be an easy decision, that’s for sure! (K.N.B.)


Subscriber Login