MOSCOW, Ind. (AP) A landmark covered bridge in Rush County that was destroyed by a tornado could be rebuilt on its original site by next summer.
Gov. Mitch Daniels announced Friday that a coalition of companies, organizations and individuals will raise private money and donate time and materials to rebuild the bridge in the tiny town of Moscow. The governor’s office organized the coalition.
A tornado on June 3 ripped much of Moscow apart and sent its 1886 wooden bridge into the Flatrock River below.
Up to $400,000 might be needed to pay for rebuilding the bridge. The governor’s office said the cost would have been a lot higher, but much of the needed materials, equipment and labor will be donated.
“Anywhere near Moscow, folks were naturally heartbroken about the loss of the bridge,” Daniels said. “But I was also struck at how much it affected people in distant parts of the state.”
Daniels said it was not realistic to use tax money for the bridge project because of its low traffic levels in the rural area about 35 mi. southeast of Indianapolis.
“I resolved to try to find a way to get it done anyway, and I began asking people and everyone said yes,” he said.
The new bridge will incorporate much of the wood salvaged from the original bridge. The project is expected to take nine months to a year to finish once timbers are collected later in the fall, but completion also will depend on weather conditions.
The $400,000 will be raised privately by two groups.
CSO Architects of Indianapolis will lead an effort to raise two-thirds of the money for the project. The company’s president, Jim Schellinger, lost the Democratic gubernatorial primary to Jill Long Thompson in a bid to take on Daniels in this year’s governor’s race.
The rest of the money will be raised by area citizens. A Rush County committee will be created and will include elected leaders and other area residents.
A fundraising account has been established in the name of the Moscow Covered Bridge Reconstruction Fund at Main Source Bank in Rushville.
Dan Collom, who owns Square and Level Construction in Parke County, will be the bridge builder. He oversaw the rebuilding of the Bridgeton Covered Bridge in Parke County a year after it was destroyed in a 2005 arson.
“This will not be the same bridge. The old bridge is gone,” Collom said. “There will be a new one here. It will look as much like it as possible, but only our grandkids and children after that will realize this is an old bridge.”
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