Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Nonprofit Leads Restoration of 165-Year-Old Bridge Group Planning Fundraising Efforts

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Nonprofit Leads Restoration of 165-Year-Old Bridge Group Planning Fundraising Efforts

Article excerpt

LEHIGHTON, Pa. - A grass-roots effort to preserve a more than 165-year-old covered bridge is underway in Carbon County.

Friends of Beltzville State Park, a nonprofit group started two years ago to enhance the park outside Lehighton, took on the project to restore the bridge built by the Buck family in 1841, said John Dworsky, who is heading the project.

"We're looking to restore it and keep it beautiful for another 150 years," he said.

The bridge carried horses and buggies across Pohopoco Creek in its day, and was moved to its present location inside the park when Beltzville Lake was created in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The bridge, owned by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, is located in Franklin Township but was originally in Towamensing Township, Mr. Dworsky said.

"When they drug it from the Pohopoco, they moved it over the township line," he said.

The Friends group secured letters from the state and both townships allowing them to refurbish the bridge, Mr. Dworsky said. They recently asked the Carbon County commissioners for a letter of support.

"I'm certain being the owner of a historical bridge ourselves, we know the importance of maintaining our history," Commissioner Wayne Nothstein said.

Dworsky explained that the group wants to make sure they have everyone on board before they begin fundraising for the restoration.

"That is critical because we don't want to raise dollar one until we have everyone in line," he said. "Otherwise, it would be pointless."

The commissioners agreed to give the group a letter of support, but they also inquired about the cost of the project. An upcoming meeting with an engineer will shed light on the scope of the project, Mr. Dworsky said.

"We may have to take the entire bridge apart and replace it, and rebuild it. It depends on what will be more cost effective," he said. …

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