County Delivers Blow to NSRGA PDF Print E-mail
The following speaks for itself.

"Dear Julie,
I have been delegated to inform you that Larry Wilson has rescinded his support for your grant application.  He became very concerned about the language requiring the county to agree to maintain the bridge for 20 years.  With this year's floods, he is afraid that this could cost the county hundreds of thousands of dollars.  I replied that Julie's group has raised substantial money and has many people strongly supporting it and would not leave the county with such a burden.  He was not convinced and so a resolution was passed to remove the county's support.  If the grant comes through, the county will not accept it.  I voted against but was out voted 2 to 1.  Larry delegated me to inform you of these proceedings.  I do so sadly.  - Lamoyne Gaard

NSRGA doesn't understand how this came out of the blue without proper notice from Poweshiek County.  How could they resolve and vote on an issue without our presence? Was it an agenda item? We believe that this is a knee jerk reaction to the crash of an oversize vehicle on the bridge in Washington last week, the county conservation board that didn't want us to do anything with that old bridge at Millgrove Access, an engineer that admits to not understanding truss bridges and the flooding.
With the recent flooding NSRGA was looking forward to getting into the area to survey the high waters and to assess the numbers with our engineer. Our numbers for reset had raised the bridge two feet, so while the flooding was concerning to us we could wait until the waters had receded and there seemed to be greater needs to the citizens than our project right now. Certainly no definite evaluation could be made while it was still so wet.
This TeAP (Transportation Enhancement Alternative Program) Grant for federal dollars was not a sure thing, but preliminary talks with the National Trust for Historic Preservation Insurance Company had begun because we were researching the insurance issue. NTHP Insurance Co began in 2004 and insures other historic projects with these kind of grant requirements, like 20 years of maintenance, were in progress. June 11 is the date the TeAP grantees will be announced.. The money is competitive with only a million dollars available on a statewide base. Our regional planning area 6 declined to give out any opportunities for grants this year and provided NSRGA with their report just yesterday which defined their reasons.
NSRGA's  primary donor, Marilyn Taylor Jordan of the McFarlin Family Foundation was contacted about this new roadblock immediately. She wrote from Shanghai: "Who is Larry Wilson? Can the board members and supporters write to him? I'm also concerned about the 20-year obligation, but the point is to secure the grant, then determine what is required to obtain the required coverage for the liability."
This project cost the county nothing to date.
Any questions can be directed to Julie Bowers, Executive Director of the NSRGA, at 641.260.1262.
McFarlin Family Issues Challenge For $10,000 Grant for McIntyre Bowstring PDF Print E-mail


The board of directors of The N. Skunk River Greenbelt Association is delighted to announce a $10,000 grant from
Marilyn Taylor Jordan on behalf of the McFarlin Family. This grant comes with a challenge to raise at least $5000
from other sources.

NSRGA is asking 250 people to donate $20 dollars by July 30, 2012 to fulfill the challenge. That $20 will give the
donors their names on a plank or a plaque at Millgrove Access Wildlife Area and a thank you gift of the Workin’
Bridges Documentary on Historic Truss Bridge Restoration. The documentary details exactly how the bridge will be
restored and put back over the river. The documentary was put together to refute most of the engineer’s ideas in
Iowa where they have repeatedly said that old iron can not be welded and that these bridges should be destroyed
because of their age. We never bought into that, and have found engineers all over the U.S. who are restoring these
bridges, including the cheif Engineers of Texas Department of Transportation John Barton and our resources at
Spicer Engineering in Michigan.

“Our plans continue to evolve. A bridge in northeaster Iowa has come up for replacement and parts from that bridge
may be used for our vertical supports that we need to rebuild, planks for the deck and steel beams, while other parts
will be recycled or retained in a parts inventory for use on other projects”, stated Julie Bowers, Executive Director
for NSRGA. “We had considered using that bridge but it didn’t fit our existing piers and would have added additional
costs and permitting to our project. Our goal remains to put our bridge back on the piers that remain in the N. Skunk

The granted money will be spent on fulfilling the Site Survey and pier study to determine if we need to add
additional height to the piers. NSRGA has been granted $1950 for this study by the National Trust for Historic
Preservation and more time has been extended for that study to be performed. It is expected to cost $4000. We will
also use the grant to begin engineered working drawings for the repairs and to return the viable parts to Iowa for
restoration. A workshop will be conducted to train welders, engineers and other interested parties on the techniques
used for hot riveting, heat straightening and welding of old iron, These techniques are showcvased in the video
documentary which features an 1885 truss bridge in Texas that was recently put back into vehicular traffic surface.
The full cost of bridge restoration and reset will now cost about $134,000. This does not include money for work on
the road or the riverbanks. The bridge is the most important part, once that is done and reset NSRGA will work with
the county on the other issues.

NSRGA is also in the running for the Iowa’s Best Bite restaurant challenge in Grinnell. We hope to take our Skunk
River style foods and create a great restaurant, bring in guest chefs to keep the menu fun, and create an event space
downstairs. Grinnell doesn’t really have a place for large groups to meet or bands to play. Our concept, Bridge
Bistro and the Cast Iron Pub will be run by our board of directors and the profits will return to the community in
projects like the bridge. We realized a long time ago that just asking for donations or trying to win grants in this
economy was difficult and turned to working to bring in our capital. Workin’ Bridges consults other groups on saving
bridges and has seen success in Kansas, Arkansas and Texas. Our board has a lot of experience with food and V.P.
Diane Eakins will become the general manager if we win this challenge. Our goal is to create a place with excellent
food and superior service, that our customers will want to return to over and over, knowing that their money will be
kept in our local economy and spent on a variety of projects once our bridge project has been successfully finished.
To be part of the challenge, the $20 donation may be made online at or a check can be sent to P.O. Box 332, Grinnell, IA 50112

Workin' Bridges Documentary PDF Print E-mail

The documentary for Workin' Bridges: Historic Truss Bridge Restoration can be purchased easily through PayPal. Just click on the Support Historic Truss Bridges Tab and then the Donate Online button.


The dvd is $10 plus $3.50 for regular mail or $4.95 for priority mail. We will get it out as soon as the money gets transferred.

Thanks so much for supporting our work.

Documentary Selected for Film Festival PDF Print E-mail

Workin' Bridges: Historic Truss Bridge Restoration featuring the Piano Bridge, and our own beloved bowstring, has been selected to open the show at the 1st Annual Snake Alley Festival of Films on June 7th at 2:00pm.

All aspects of the construction project are covered and in depth interviews with the craftsmen and engineers  provide context for the retrovative concepts we are excited about. John Barton, Chief Engineer of Texas Department of Transportation, Nels Raynor of BACH Steel, and other engineers / craftsmen provide commentary. From heat straightening eye-bars, forging or fabricating new parts, welding and hot riveting, the viewer gets the point. Historic Preservation can be accomplished and we needn't lose the past to get to the future. Add music by Grateful Dead and we all understand that these truss bridges were built to last.

You can check out
or at their Facebook at!/pages/Snake-Alley-Festival-of-Film/252499188099817/julie.bowers1?ref=tn_tnmn#!/pages/Snake-Alley-Festival-of-Film/252499188099817

or ours at Workin' Bridges to keep up with the latest.

The DVD will be available for sale at this web site under donations on or near the date for the Festival. More details on that to come.


The McIntyre Bridge was delisted by order of the National Register of Historic Places and Iowa's State Historic Preservation Office, siting the "move" of the bridge to Michigan after the move off the piers by Mother Nature.   Delisting means that we are not able to apply for grants through the state. This delisting came as a complete surprise because we have been operating under a memorandum from SHPO from December 21, 2010 that says we remain eligible for listing.

Other grants have been applied for under those facts and all efforts are being made to get this matter straightened out.

Our intention this year is to bring back the parts of the bowstring bridge, fabricate what we need for repairs, reassemble and reset. Decking will be applied and the bridge will be put back where she belongs, over the N. Skunk River. Donations of 1 1/2' angle iron, 1 1/2" rod, channel, plate and pins are being sought. A hands on seminar on the repair of historic truss bridges is being conducted from September 30, 2012 - October 10, 2012. Daily rates for participation, camping space provided just outside of Grinnell, Iowa at the old airport. The area has been donated to the seminar.  If you have an interest in learning how to fully restore an historic bridge call us at 641.260.1262 to make arrangements and get the fee structure and construction schedule so that you can choose your dates of attendance.


GRINNELL, IOWA -                                                                                                       FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The North Skunk River Greenbelt Association (NSRGA) is delighted to announce that the Pepsi Refresh Project has accepted their idea for the restoration of the McIntyre Bridge for voting, beginning November 1. The “Get it Up & Get it Over” campaign was started by Derin Sanders and Cindy Olson at Iowa Valley Community College for a project in advertising last year. “Something made me try one more time to get our idea up for the Pepsi voting grants, and the selection of our idea happened today”.said Julie Bowers, Executive Director of NSRGA, “It’s a long shot but with the community’s help and a nationwide social network, we will work to get those votes out,”

The plans have been created for the restoration and only lack of funding is holding us back from getting the bridge back to Iowa from BACH Steel in Holt, Michigan. The $50,000 would go towards fabrication and putting our bowstring bridge back together and over the N. Skunk River where it resided for over 125 years. We would appreciate your vote online at or by Text 109732 to Pepsi (73774) to vote from your mobile.

Any questions can be directed to Julie Bowers at 641.260.1262 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . More information at or Workin’ Bridges on Facebook.

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