City of Cassville weighs 7th Street bridge options

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

FEMA denies funding; aldermen suggest pedestrian bridge

The city of Cassville is mulling its options for what to do about the bridge on 7th Street into the city park since the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) denied requests for funding to build a new bridge.

FEMA said the city’s request was denied because the scope of work did not meet FEMA code, the scope of work was not eligible for hazard mitigation and the cost-benefit ratio did not meet the required factor.

“The Army Corps of Engineers says we can’t rebuild it how it was, and FEMA turned down our proposal and our appeal, then suggested we apply for hazard mitigation funding, but turned that down, too,” Mayor Bill Shiveley said.

With the nearly $200,000 bridge project not supported by any federal funding, Alderman Jon Horner said the city should consider switching approaches.

“The biggest priority to me now is to make a pedestrian footbridge for people to have access to the park and ballfields from downtown,” Horner said. “It’s inconvenient [to not have a street bridge], but we have to weigh the cost of paying for the bridge on our own, and that’s an enormous cost.”

Alderman Jerry Marple suggested the city seek community input for which direction to go.

“If we [build a footbridge], we will also have to address the streets leading to it,” he said. “I think we should have a public hearing and get an interest in what the community wants.”

Shiveley said before a public hearing can be held, he would like the city to get estimates for what a footbridge would cost.

“The alternative is to not pave any city streets for a couple years to pay for the [street] bridge, but I don’t like that,” Marple said.

“That comes down to usage, and the streets we would not pave would be way more used than a bridge,” Horner said. “It’s not high-traffic enough, other than a couple months out of the year, and it’s mostly a convenience piece.”

Officials agreed to explore the cost of a footbridge and to address the issue in following meetings.

The bridge was shut down in 2015 after flooding. The city completed a patchwork solution to keep it passable, but subsequent floods in 2017 damaged it beyond repair.

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