come enjoy some time by the river and dream about the day the bridge will be fixed and return

OCTOBER 23 - all day

NSRGA Annual Meeting - Lots of News PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                          Contact: Julie Bowers 641.260.1262

The N. Skunk River Greenbelt Association (NSRGA) was rejected for a Historic Resource Development Program grant by the State Historical Program Office (SHPO) on July 29, 2011.  After waiting for Governor Branstad to sign the State Budget, a month after the original deadline, NSRGA was very disappointed in the outcome. We couldn't make them understand the importance of fixing the bowstring, that the plans are already sealed by the engineer for starting work and that the work can be completed for around $200,000 installed, tested and signed off by engineers, stated Julie Bowers, Executive Director of NSRGA.

SHPO comments included one about the budget, stating anonymously “the budget appears unrealistically too low, Another comment added “did not prove there were no iron experts in Iowa.” Although the Technical Advisor appointed by SHPO had advocated for our rentention on the National Register of Historic Places, the committee felt that the project lacked historic integrity, but then stated “though the project is worthy, the work plan well documented, there were many qualified applicants”.

According to Bowers, NSRGA has been unsuccessful at educating the leaders at the state level about historic truss bridges, but we stand behind our budget - this is absolutely the attitude that Workin’ Bridges is trying to change about pricy historic preservation. It is still just a construction project..  After the time it took, if they knew we didn't make the historical cut, we wasted time and momentum awaiting their decision.  Work related to a grant cannot commence before the grant has been awarded. I have been trying all year to educate the SHPO office, advocating for more transparency. Who applied for these grants? Who received this money? Why is the system still paper driven when it could be an internet based grant system? We’ve even had meetings with the Keeper of the National Register and her deputies about these issues but they claim each state is different. As we continue our work with all agencies  we are compiling the information that it takes to work with them,

At the delayed NSRGA Annual Meeting (waiting SHPO decision) on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011 the NSRGA board of directors agreed to continue to fundraise for the site survey valued at $4000 to be completed by Spicer Engineering and Clap Saddle Garber Engineering. $75,000 will cover the process of fabricating the vertical posts, diagonal and lateral bracing and fixing the bowstring arches. Our goal is to get the restored parts back to Iowa for assembly. BACH Steel’s Nels Raynor is looking at estimating Plan B to see where we can utilize volunteers and in-kind contributions to limit the cash contributions needed to reach our goals.

BridgeFest2011 - Music Fun and Food will be held at Gary’s GameTime on August 27 from 6-10. Music by Thankful Dirt from Des Moines. Other acts are still being finalized. $10 ticket benefits the site survey at Millgrove Acess. A dunk tank, bake sale and flea market will take contributions on Saturday. A paddle on the N. Skunk from the Lynnville access will take place, weather and water permitting, on Sunday morning, August 28th.

New officers for the year were elected: Gary Gibson - President, Diane Eakins - Vice President, Heather Thompson McFadden - Secretary/Treasurer. Josh Sadler, Melissa Berman and Dick Bowers remain on the board. The Board by resolution voted to change the mission of NSRGA. The new mission reads: NSRGA is dedicated to  historic truss bridges and greenbelt preservation and restoration. The Board also resolved to trademark Workin’ Bridges and to contine the work towards historic truss bridge restoration across the U.S., including projects in Kansas, Minnesota, Arkansas, Missouri and Iowa.

Workin’ Bridges has rescued the Upper Bluffton Bridge in Winneshiek County and is currently  planning the disassembly and storage until a new owner can be found for the antique 116’ Wrought Iron Bridge Company Pratt Truss. A 40’ Queen Post Pony Truss is available. The board approved sending a letter to the Winneshiek Board of Supervisors requesting permission to purchase and restore the Galliece Wrought Iron Bridge Company Bowstring  Truss that is scheduled for  removal next year. This project goes throught Section 106 of the Iowa Department of Transportation. If we can find a new owner and request permission to move this bridge to the new site through SHPO and the Keeper of the National Register this property can remain listed. It needs complete disassembly and restoration before resetting but has great potential for a trail, residential driveway or greenway.

Grants Delayed PDF Print E-mail

Because the Iowa legislature has been unable to finalize the budget for this year, no State Historic Preservation Office determinations will be made until mid-July.

This means that the Historic Resource Development Program grant that we applied for in May is still pending.

What this means for the McIntyre Bridge will be determined at the annual board meeting to be held after we know more.

The agenda and new resolutions allowing members in NSRGA will be up for voting. We welcome all to our meetings and will post the agenda closer to the meeting date.

Any questions can be directed to Julie Bowers, Executive Director at 641.260.1262.

Rehabilitation Plans / Budget Finalized for McIntyre Bowstring Bridge PDF Print E-mail

GRINNELL, Iowa On May 16, 2011 The N. Skunk River Greenbelt Association (NSRGA) received the general rehabilitation plan for the McIntyre Bridge from Spicer Group of Saginaw, Michigan. The plan allowed Workin’ Bridges to estimate the costs for the fabrication of the truss, on site assembly, load testing and reset over the N. Skunk River at Millgrove Access Wildlife Area. The final estimate for the restoration of the bridge is nearly $200,000.

NSRGA applied for an Historic Resource Development Program grant for $50,000, maximum grant request in this year’s budget, and will continue to raise public and private donations to meet the matching funds, $25,000. The Master Plan includes parts fabrication for the bridge in at BACH Steel in Holt, Michigan. Those parts will be shipped to us and we will assemble on site, utilizing as many local and skilled craftsmen as we can. Then we will add the decking and conduct the engineer’s load testing. Once all of that is complete, we will put the bridge back over the river. Each phase is still unfunded, but one step at a time, this access will be used by the patrons of Millgrove Access Wildlife Area.

The McIntyre Bridge, a King bowstring truss, was listed on the National Register in 1998 and was swept off her piers by flooding in August of 2010. NSRGA has been working BACH’s Nels Raynor to do site visits and estimates for other bridges affected by time and water across the country. The McIntyre Bridge projects provided another opportunity to create a Scope of Work that will ultimately get our bridge Up & Over.

Donations may be made to NSRGA at PO Box 332, Grinnell, Iowa 50112. Donations can also be made online at


Part 4: Budget Form

Expense Description



Applicant’s Match

CASH        In-Kind

Row Totals

1. Top Chord




2. Bottom Chord




3. Cruciform Verticals




4. Outrigger Lattice




5. Horizontal Tubes Bottom

5a) Horizontal Tubes Top







6. I-Beams




7. Lower X-Bracing



\      3,740

8. Diagonal & X Bracing




9. Piers

10. Parts – Connectors Salvaged

11/ Ship Assemble & Reset



12. Decking & Railing/Finish




13. Hard Armor Banks




14. Signage





$      500





$ 50,000


$ 122,422






Applicant Match

Total Project Cost

Costs are subject to change as materials fluctuate. This budget doesn’t include a contingency or a construction management fee from Workin’ Bridges. This budget was created for the HDRP grant through State  Historic Society of Iowa.

National Trust for Historic Preservation Awards The N. Skunk River Greenbelt Association (NSRGA) a Preservation Grant from National Trust Preservation Funds PDF Print E-mail
Grinnell, Iowa (­March 15, 2011)—Today, the N. Skunk River Greenbelt Association (NSRGA) was awarded a $1,950 grant by the National Trust for Historic Preservation from the Dr. Frank Henry Landes Fund for Iowa.  The seed grant funds will be used to hire the Spicer Group from Saginaw, Michigan to produce a survey work plan for the McIntyre Bridge at Millgrove Access, including a site survey and ACAD drawings.

The McIntyre Bowstring is currently in the engineering phase of the project. Spicer Group was chosen because of their experience working with historic truss bridges in Michigan. Spicer will provide a general rehabilitation plan as well as the site survey required for all projects to move forward with the goal of having the bridge reset by the Fall of 2011.

"Without organizations like NSRGA, communities and towns all across America would have a diminished sense of place," said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  "The National Trust for Historic Preservation is honored to provide a grant to NSRGA, which will use the funds to help preserve an important piece of our shared heritage."

The National Trust for Historic Preservation dispenses small grants for local projects through the National Trust Preservation Funds grant program.  The grants range from $500 to $5,000 and have provided over $5.5 million dollars of funding since 2002.  They are awarded to nonprofit groups, educational institutions and public agencies, and must be matched, at least dollar for dollar, with public or private funds.  Preservation Funds grants are being used nationally for such wide-ranging activities as consultant services for rehabilitating buildings, technical assistance for tourism that promotes historic resources and educating children about their heritage.  These grants are often the deciding factor on whether historic buildings or sites can be saved for future generations.

For more information on National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Preservation Fund grants, visit:

About the N. Skunk River Greenbelt Association

NSRGA was formed in 2010 dedicated to the preservation of the 1883 King Iron Bridge bowstring truss and the greenbelt area that surrounds it. NSRGA works with the Poweshiek County Board of Supervisors and the Poweshiek County Conservation Board making sure that the end result, the reset of the bowstring, will coincide with an area that meets the needs of the population of central Iowa. Donations are tax deductible and can be made online at or mailed to NSRGA PO Box 332, Grinnell, IA 50112.

About the National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation ( is a non-profit membership organization bringing people together to protect, enhance and enjoy the places that matter to them. By saving the places where great moments from history – and the important moments of everyday life – took place, the National Trust for Historic Preservation helps revitalize neighborhoods and communities, spark economic development and promote environmental sustainability. With headquarters in Washington, DC, nine regional and field offices, 29 historic sites, and partner organizations in all 50 states, the National Trust for Historic Preservation provides leadership, education, advocacy and resources to a national network of people, organizations and local communities committed to saving places, connecting us to our history and collectively shaping the future of America’s stories.


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