Rural Missouri - November 2021 - 9

by Heather Berry | hberry@ruralmissouri.coop
hen Denise Prisk looks at Jenkins Bridge, she
sees a wonderful opportunity to link the past to
the present. Coming from a long line of Jenkins
residents, Denise remembers when the bridge
was an integral part of daily life for the small town.
" This bridge is more than something that crosses a body
of water, " says Denise. " It's where many of us learned to
swim, caught our fi rst fi sh and picnicked with our families.
It's a vital part of local history. "
Completed in 1910, the bridge is one of the few onelane,
wood-fl oor, truss-style bridges remaining in issouri.
Located over the clear water of Flat Creek on Farm Road
1215 between highways 39 and 248, the
bridge sees only foot traffi c these days, especially
now that the town of Jenkins is practically
a memory. The town - once home to two
banks, blacksmith shop, mercantile, cannery,
mill and more - is now only a bedroom community
to less than 1,000 residents.
In , a issouri epartment of TransW
Jenkins
portation
bridge inspection deemed the water
crossing unsafe for automobiles and too expensive
for needed structural repairs. The route was offi cially
closed to traffi c that year and arry ounty leaders agreed
the bridge wasn't feasible to repair. The only other options
would be to sell it or demolish the local landmark.
That's when the clock began ticking toward the possible
demolition of Jenkins Bridge.
Passionate about their historic icon, locals weren't ready
to give up their bridge so easily. A meeting was called by the
residents of Jenkins and attended by everyone who knew
and loved the landmark. ore than  people showed up
to offer support and hear what the future plans might be for
the beloved bridge. After the meeting, attendees teamed up
to form a nonprofi t organiation called the enkins ridge
Restoration Foundation Corp.
" We don't want the bridge removed from our community, "
says Denise, who serves as secretary/treasurer for the
foundation. " We understand time is not on our side. "
The goal of the group is to take ownership of the bridge
and raise the funds needed to restore it for pedestrian use
only. The county is willing to sell the bridge to the group for
$1 with the stipulation they be able to buy the needed insurance
and pay to have the bridge repaired for pedestrians.
arry ounty offi cials said they would hold off with
demolition, if anyone came forward with a plan. The
residents moved uickly into place, forming the nonprofi t
organiation so ta-deductible donations could be made.
The group paid Anderson ngineering of onett for an
estimate to turn the bridge into a safe pedestrian walkway.
" Depending on the plan we moved forward with, the bid
was between $219,000 to $348,000, " says Denise. " To begin
work, they said they'd accept an initial payment of $40,000,
with construction taking place in 2023. "
Previous page: Members of the Jenkins Bridge Restoration Foundation
Corp. eat, sleep and breathe " all things Jenkins Bridge. " From left: Alita
eifl e livea hompson enise risk uy incent ara arker and
racie nodgrass. Right: A postcard from 1911 shows the Barry County
ridge as one o the main crossings over lat reek.
   . 9
 
That was in 2019. The group held fundraisers of all
types: duck races, small concerts and dinners. Right now
they're sitting at $25,000 and must raise the remaining
, by early net year so county offi cials know the
group is serious about taking on the project.
With COVID concerns on everyone's mind during 2020,
fundraising efforts of the group fell to the wayside during
a year they hope the county commissioners graciously
overlook so they continue to have time to fi nish raising the
down payment.
Foundation member Tracie Snodgrass pleads the case of
saving the bridge from an educational standpoint.
" This bridge can be a teaching tool for our children, "
says Tracie, looking out over the quiet river bend. " Conservation
and nature are things kids need to continue
learning about. People have come here for years to swim,
fi sh and kayak. ids aren't going to eperience that if
they're only on their phones. "
According to oT's website, issouri has approximately
25,000 bridges on state, county and
city roads. Several hundred are potentially eligible
for the National Register of Historic Places. At
 years old, enkins ridge fi ts the criteria.
But right now, the foundation needs people who
are passionate about the bridge to help before all
the sand runs out of the hourglass.
As the sun sets on an unseasonably warm fall day,
committee members stand on Jenkins Bridge, surveying
lat reek. The water is so clear you can see the fi sh
below. You can hear the water trickling over the creek rock
as it fl ows around the bend upstream.
The rumble of a delivery truck is heard pulling up to
the gravel bar. Soon the driver jumps from the vehicle with
a fi shing pole, looks over and smiles at the group. It's a
peaceful place for a break, " says the fi sherman. ithin
minutes he's caught a couple of fi sh and released them
back into their pristine home with hopes of catching them
here again one day.
For more information about Jenkins Bridge, contact
Denise Prisk at 417-342-3440 or priskda@gmail.com.
Donations may be mailed or deposited in the Jenkins
Bridge Restoration Foundation Corp. account at the First
Independent Bank, 1100 S. Elliott Ave., Aurora, MO 65605.
Follow Save The Jenkins Bridge on Facebook for updates.

Rural Missouri - November 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - November 2021

Contents
Rural Missouri - November 2021 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - November 2021 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - November 2021 - Contents
Rural Missouri - November 2021 - 4
Rural Missouri - November 2021 - 5
Rural Missouri - November 2021 - 6
Rural Missouri - November 2021 - 7
Rural Missouri - November 2021 - 8
Rural Missouri - November 2021 - 9
Rural Missouri - November 2021 - 10
Rural Missouri - November 2021 - 11
Rural Missouri - November 2021 - 12
Rural Missouri - November 2021 - 13
Rural Missouri - November 2021 - 14
Rural Missouri - November 2021 - 15
Rural Missouri - November 2021 - 16
Rural Missouri - November 2021 - 17
Rural Missouri - November 2021 - 18
Rural Missouri - November 2021 - 19
Rural Missouri - November 2021 - 20
Rural Missouri - November 2021 - 21
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Rural Missouri - November 2021 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - November 2021 - Cover4
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