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News Track: Preservation commission hosts fundraiser to help save Ely's Stone Bridge

Event takes place Sept. 15 at Monticello Eagles Club

The Ely’s Stone Bridge is shown outside of Monticello on Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Parts of the historic bridge’s stone facade have recently been damaged, but county officials say the damage is superficial. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
The Ely’s Stone Bridge is shown outside of Monticello on Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Parts of the historic bridge’s stone facade have recently been damaged, but county officials say the damage is superficial. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
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MONTICELLO — Last spring, mounting concerns over weather-related deterioration to Ely’s Stone Bridge had Jones County officials looking at their options regarding the more than 120-year-old structure.

When word came out that one option included the possible replacement, some residents and historic preservationists took up arms to try to save the limestone bridge, which is located northwest of Monticello on Hardscrabble Road.

Later that fall, representatives from the University of Colorado Denver conducted a pro bono survey to determine the condition and possible repair needs of the three-arched bridge.

In the spring of this year, the Jones County Board of Supervisors convened to begin formal discussions on the best course of action for Ely’s Stone Bridge.

What’s Happened Since The Jones County Board of Supervisors earlier this year passed a resolution that transferred supervision and control of the bridge from the county to the Jones County Historical Preservation Commission.

The county will maintain ownership over the bridge, but the group now is tasked with funding the structure’s preservation.

Rose Rohr, chairwoman of the preservation commission, said taking over maintenance of the bridge should help save the structure from demolition, but does place the financial burden on the commission. The group is actively looking to secure grants.

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“It’s going to take a longer period of time and we have to do a lot more work, but this is a community-driven project,” she said.

Rohr said weathering continues to worsen on the bridge — more of the stone facade has crumbled away. While the majority of damage remains superficial, Rohr said her hope is to see work take place yet this year.

“We need to have this done before winter,” she said. “The bridge still is stable, it’s still in good condition, but the longer we wait, the more damage we’ll see.”

To pay for a contractor and engineer to address the water drainage issue on the bridge before winter, the commission is hosting a fundraising campaign with the hopes to securing $15,000 to $20,000.

On Sept. 15, the organization will host a meal from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at Monticello Eagles Club, 102 Lindner Court. The band Crosscut will perform, with a silent auction and live auction at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15.

Individuals with questions on the event or seeking tickets can reach Rohr at (319) 480-0221.

l Comments: (319) 339-3175; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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