Winamac Park Board to Research Possible Upgrades to Swinging Bridge

The Winamac Park Board wants to do some more research on possible upgrades to the “swinging bridge,” before looking for volunteers to help with the effort. The Town Park’s Memorial Bridge will be 100 years old in 2023. To celebrate the upcoming centennial, residents have proposed adding some sort of decorative lighting feature, as well as painting the bridge.

But before putting a committee together to come up with some plans, park board member Jon Chapman wants to determine what exactly would be allowed. “I think one of the first things we should do is contact IDEM and get an idea, just what the process is going to have to be, in the way of painting over the water, if that’s our intention, because I know for the fire tower at the state park, that was an $84,000 estimate because you have to shroud the whole thing,” he said during last week’s park board meeting. “And I think we need to be aware of what the expenses would be, so we can do it legal, before we really get too far into the advanced planning.”

Park Manager Dave DeLorenzo noted that the most recent bridge inspection suggested sandblasting. The structure also has to be checked for lead paint.

Meanwhile, Chapman said a local Boy Scout troop may be interested in painting the bridge’s concrete approaches. “Knowing that we’re just a few years off from the memorial of the bridge, I wanted to see if that was A: something that if they wanted to pursue, they could, and B: what kind of prep work might need to be done, if they were to do that because I don’t have that type of expertise,” he said. Chapman explained that none of that work would take place directly over the water.

Park board members agreed they would be open to letting the Boy Scouts explore the project and put together a proposal. They noted that even though the entire bridge and its approaches may be repainted in a few years, painting the concrete now would at least improve its appearance until the rest of the work takes place.