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Photo: Dunn's Bridge restoration wins state engineering award

 

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Bridge restoration wins award: The restoration of Dunn’s Bridge at the new county park unit along the Kankakee River has won a statewide engineering award. Porter County Park Board President Richard Hudson (left) is shown presenting Commissioner President Dave Burrus with a plaque honoring the bridge restoration for its engineering excellence. The award was announced March 8 at the 15th annual Engineering Excellence Banquet, sponsored by the American Council of Engineering Companies. The bridge project now will be entered into a national engineering competition.  (Photo provided)

 

By VICKI URBANIK

The restoration of Dunn’s Bridge at the new county park along the Kankakee River has won a statewide engineering award.

Porter County Park Board President Richard Hudson presented Commissioner President Dave Burrus with a plaque honoring the bridge restoration for its engineering excellence. Hudson made a similar presentation earlier in the week before the county commissioners.

The award was given during the 15th annual Engineering Excellence Banquet sponsored by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Indiana on March 8.

The Dunn’s Bridge restoration engineers, Butler-Fairman and Seufert Inc., received the honors award for their restoration work. The bridge project now will be entered into a national engineering competition.

In a banquet program, Dunn’s Bridge was called one of Porter County’s most recognizable landmarks. The program noted, though, that the source of the design of the 1904 bridge is still a mystery, with some sources saying the bridge was part of the world’s first ferris wheel, while others saying it came from salvaged roof trusses from the Indiana House at the World’s Fair in 1890.

Burrus thanked the park board and staff for helping to save and preserve a piece of Porter County history.

“I think we have an exceptionally valuable asset here,” he said.

Burrus also took note of the county’s fiscal problems and commended Park Superintendent Ed Melendez and his staff for assisting with maintenance work elsewhere in county government.

A formal dedication of the Dunn’s Bridge park is expected to be held sometime this year.

In other matters Thursday:

• Park Board Attorney Dave Hollenbeck said a feasibility study on whether Porter County should impose impact fees will be unveiled on April 28. The impact fees could be used to generate revenue for the park department.

• Board member Reggie Korthals said a notice will be posted immediately for the vacant contractual position of special events coordinator. The park department will organize the upcoming kite festival itself, but contracted help will be sought for the Gaelic Fest, Holiday Lights Festival, and possibly another large event.

The special events coordinator had been a full-time position at the park department, but funding cuts last year prompted the change to a contractual post on a per-festival basis.

• Park Foundation President Tim Cole said the foundation has secured the funding for about two acres of seeding the new, eight-acre Helen Dancey Meadow at Sunset Hill Farm County Park, named in memory of orinthologist and ardent park supporter Dancey, who died last year.

• On display at the park board meeting was a new attraction for the county parks: a child-sized trailer fashioned out of a hollowed-out barrel, complete with a steering wheel and safety belt, all made in-house from recycled materials. Park Superintendent Ed Melendez said kids will be given rides in the trailers during the park’s festivals.

He said the Lake County Parks Department offered the same entertainment at one of its festivals, raising $750.

 

Posted 4/4/2003

 

 

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