Hamilton County and the city of Fishers are partnering to restore a historic covered bridge and relocate it from Jackson County to a Fishers park.
The county will install the 150-year-old bridge over Fall Creek in Geist Park as a pedestrian bridge that will eventually connect to a trail system the city is planning in the area.
Hamilton County will donate $25,000 to Jackson County’s Round Barn Restoration Fund in exchange for the bridge, called the Bell Ford Bridge.
Altogether, the project is expected to cost $3 million and should be complete by 2025. The Hamilton County Highway Department will apply for federal grants to help pay for the project.
The 332-foot bridge was originally installed over the east fork of the White River between Seymour and Cortland in 1869.
In 1999, the western span of the bridge collapsed during a windstorm. In 2005, the bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places as the only combination post truss bridge in the world. Less than a year later, the eastern span collapsed. Parts of the bridge have been in storage ever since.
“At Hamilton County Parks and Recreation, historic preservation is more than just a goal, it is part of our mission,” said Allen Patterson, director of Hamilton County Parks & Recreation, who is involved in the project.
The Hamilton County Parks & Recreation Department previously saved and restored a historic bridge over the White River that connects White River Campground to Strawtown Koteewi Park.
“We learned during the restoration of the Potters Covered Bridge that the community views these projects as an exciting, worthwhile and educational addition to the quality of life in our community,” Patterson said in written comments.
"We're excited to be able to partner with Jackson County and restore this bridge to its original glory," said Hamilton County Commissioner Mark Heirbrandt. "This bridge will really add a neat wow factor to this project."