Winamac Memorial Bridge Lighting Efforts Gaining Momentum

Efforts to add decorative lighting to the Winamac Town Park’s Memorial Bridge are drawing community support. Project organizer Greg Henry told the Winamac Park Board Thursday that he’s already heard from people interested in donating. “It’s kind of a big project, much bigger than I anticipated at first,” Henry said. “But it’s going in the right direction.”

Henry said the American Legion has agreed to set up an account to collect donations, and plans are in the works to create a website to let people donate online. He also continues looking into various grant opportunities.

Henry’s goal is to install a lighting feature on the “swinging bridge” in time for its centennial in 2023. “I guess the objective is to outline the bridge, doing both towers, and some lights under it,” he explained. “Now, as far as a total price, I don’t have that exact figure yet, but I hope to by the first of the year.” He added that at this point, he’s opting not to install mesh lighting along the sides of the bridge, as he had previously proposed.

Park Board President Chris Schramm noted that the first project committee meeting last month drew about 20 people. “I went to the meeting,” Schramm said. “[Town Council Member] Alvin [Parish] was there, too. And I was impressed with how many people were there. Representative [Doug] Gutwein was there.”

Meanwhile, Henry said a local school has offered to help with efforts to get the bridge listed on the National Register of Historic Places. He’s also spoken with members of the Fort Wayne and South Bend park boards, who have experience with this type of project. At the same time, park board member and town manager Brad Zellers said he wants to get quotes for painting the bridge, which was called for by a recent bridge inspection.

Henry felt that the lighting project could be a big draw for the Town of Winamac. “I had the one lady from South Bend tell me, ‘One you get this bridge done, you’re going to see a large amount of traffic, of people coming into the community, just to see the bridge.’ So I think that’s a plus for the whole town.”

The next project committee meeting will be held Wednesday, November 13 at 5:30 p.m. EST in the Winamac Municipal Utilities Complex. Henry said he hopes to get quite a few more people involved.