Ames City Council Passes on Railroad Bridge Donation

Posted by MW on December 28th, 2009 11:59 am

Accepting an offer from Union Pacific to donate an abandoned railroad span at Squaw Creek is a bridge the Ames City Council is not ready to cross yet.

Union Pacific last month agreed to extend its Nov. 24 deadline until Tuesday for the council to make a decision, but the council voted 4-2 to decline the offer for further negotiation.

Half a dozen residents urged the city to preserve the bridge for recreation and its role in delivering uranium to Iowa State University for the Manhattan Project during World War II.

“The Historic Preservation Commission feels that you should accept the bridge,” Chair Gloria Betcher said. “We feel that it is a historic property and that it should be listed on the national historic register.”

The pool of railroad bridges competing for grants is small, she said, giving it good likelihood to receive funding.

Bill Malone, owner of Cafe Diem, said he spoke with other downtown business owners, and “there’s just a real groundswell of support, I think, to have a committed trail go from campus to Main Street.”

Ames could capitalize on its unique history, he said, and use the trail to educate students and other residents about the research.

Read the full story on the Ames Tribune.
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