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Editorial: Red Bridge will be missed by community

Monday was a memorable day in Park Rapids history.

The beloved Red Bridge, a symbol of community togetherness and generations of good memories, came down.

It was unceremoniously lifted by a crane and placed on the ground nearby.

Unfortunately, it was done surreptitiously. The media and public were not notified. City officials hadn’t even received word from the DNR that the bridge was being taken down Monday morning.

State Farm agent Andy Kueber, whose office overlooks the bridge, thought to call the Enterprise with the warning, “It’ll be gone in two minutes.”

It was gone in less than that. Fortunately Kueber snapped a few shots of the occasion. By the time the paper got there two minutes later, the bridge was already sitting in the park.

For a landmark that was near and dear to our hearts, it was a final blow to those who don’t want to see change. It was a shame.

This could have been a celebration of life for the whole community to participate in. It could have given many opponents of the project closure.

There have been wedding photos, graduation photos, coming-of-age photos, balloon drops and fireworks shot from the bridge.

It could have been a great photo op for kids whose parents captured their first images on that new digital camera or smart phone years ago.

Instead it was ignored. It was a sad chapter in what we call progress.

It still will provide opportunities for photos, but none reflecting the bridge over the water as has been captured by many shutterbugs.

City officials had been working with a committee on a location in the park to move the bridge. The east side of the park was deemed the best place for the bridge to be placed. However, the crew moved the bridge to the west side of the park.

City facility maintenance superintendent Chris Fieldsend said he was optimistic the bridge could be moved to the east side. Crews will be on site for a while preparing the area for the new bridge, he said.

The city Parks Board will look at possible Red Bridge Park amenities for 2014, including possible landscaping around the old bridge and benches. Ideas will likely be presented to the city council in early 2014.

As the DNR continues work on the site to prepare it for placement of a new bridge, we say goodbye to the old Red Bridge. Farewell, old friend.

Send us your Red Bridge photos and we’ll post them on our Facebook page.