Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

To Build or Not? Deadline Looms on Foot Bridge

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

To Build or Not? Deadline Looms on Foot Bridge

Article excerpt

The clock is ticking on a proposed project to build a pedestrian bridge across Manchester Road in Ballwin. While a grant for the bridge is available, the Board of Aldermen is wavering on whether to pursue the project, Mayor Edward Montgomery told residents at a recent meeting.

More than a year ago, Ballwin received approval for a $500,000 federal grant to build a bridge across Manchester near Kehrs Mill Road. Ballwin would pay $90,000 toward the project.

As proposed, the bridge would be 8 feet wide and have a clearance of 16 feet 9 inches. It is designed to meet requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The grant was approved, City Administrator Robert Kuntz says, because the bridge connects major areas of public activity. Those include Vlasis City Park on the north side of Manchester and the baseball fields of the Ballwin Athletic Association and Ballwin Elementary School on the south side of the road.

"If we're going to accept the grant, the project has to be engineered in 1995 and constructed in 1996; the clock is ticking," Kuntz said.

Montgomery says the board is debating whether to pursue the bridge project or drop it.

"We'll decide at the last meeting in November or the first one in December," the mayor said. "We're trying to get all the aldermen together."

Because of vacations and work travel schedules, the board has not met fully for the past several meetings.

A resident presented a petition rejecting the bridge plan to the board. The 70 residents who signed the petition oppose the project on several grounds. Primarily, the residents say, the $90,000 set aside to build the bridge is "not the best use of taxpayer dollars."

The petition also cites concerns about the safety of pedestrians using the bridge as well as drivers passing under the structure. The residents fear debris will be thrown off the bridge and cause dangerous situations as well as subsequent lawsuits. …

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