Bob Mitchell: Hungry Hollow Bridge problem

Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Bob Mitchell Ozark Views & Comments

Even after the disaster of a Cassville 8-year-old boy losing his life at the scene just recently, problems still exist on the Hungry Hollow Bridge over Flat Creek just north of Cassville.

The crossing, once the subject of replacement, has been a source of difficulties for residents of the area who use the crossing to reach their property.

Naturally, hot weather compounds the problem, as people seeking cooling relief from the creek's water swarm on the bridge, often making it difficult for traffic to cross. In the past, there have been encounters between individuals that resulted in law enforcement being called to clear the structure. When this happens, it isn't long until swimmers and waders are back in the area, using the bridge as a respite out of the water.

It would appear the disaster of a young boy losing his life at the location would make the people who might be contributing to the problem come to realize the dangers existing at the site, and find a more convenient and less aggravating location to those who have to use the structure to reach their property.

Post restrictions

It might even be possible to post permanent restrictions at the location, something similar that resulted in the Stubblefield Access on Flat Creek upstream from Jenkins.

An apparent takeover of the area by some groups several years ago resulted in posted hours for use and scrutiny periodically by law enforcement agencies.

This action apparently solved most of the problems and some activities that were going on at the public access. So prevalent were the activities near Jenkins that the public was virtually denied access, either through fear or over crowded conditions.

Coming hot weather

With 90-degree weather possibly around for some time, people with young children who could be subject to harm on an unsupervised stream might consider using the Cassville Water Park.

If cost is a problem, there are probably sources of assistance that would put kids in an area that is supervised, water is regulated for cleanliness and there are activities and equipment available for them to enjoy.

Brock Spring

Cassville's first swimming pool wasn't municipal at all, but a private facility located out Mineral Springs Road and operated by private individuals. The pool was fed by Brock Spring with no attempt to heat the water. The pool facilitated both swimmers, wading youngsters and even had a high tower that the big boys frequently used, at least the youngsters always thought, to impress the girls.

There were adequate dressing facilities, but nothing for security of valuables.

The facility served its purpose until regulations came down that required sanitation facilities and treatment of water. This pool and its owners were not in a position to meet these requirements and the facility was closed.

Rides to Monett

This meant swimmers who were determined to enjoy the water in summer months would be looking for a ride to Monett to use that swimming facility. One of the most reliable to make this jaunt was Maud Wilson. In addition to being talented in teaching piano and accordion, she was an avid swimmer and would frequently load her vehicle with youngsters wanting to make the short trip north for a dip in that pool.

Parties often would hit the waters of that pool for an evening dip and enjoy their treats at a park bench.

Treachery in decision

When Cassville's first pool was being considered, there was indecision about where it would be located. One group wanted the site where it was located near city park land and others were in the mood to hit the American Legion up for some land for the pool. There were two definite sides on the issue and each was fully sure they had the correct answer.

One side came up with a survey to make the decision and composed their own letter that was sent to businesspeople and those who might be interested in the new pool. When it was discovered those sending out the opinion poll was more interested in who was offering the advice than the actual location of the new pool, the effort flopped.

In mailing the letters each return envelope was numbered under the flap to permit those making the survey to determine who had returned the survey. It was never clear why this numbering was necessary, but discovery of the move resulted in the city council voiding the opinion. It was always the opinion of many folks that the city land decision was wise, since youngsters at that time would be required to cross a narrow highway bridge to reach the Legion grounds.

After the chosen site flooded a couple of times, it was time to acquire the new Water Park.

Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat.