City should pay close attention to cost of repairing pedestrian bridge

News that the cost of repairing the pedestrian Anne Street Bridge would be in the range of $1.25 million to $1.65 million, not including the possibility of the potential for a Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad track raise related to flood protection, which would require the bridge also be elevated, puts the city in an uncomfortable proposition.

On one hand, Minot does need to preserve its history, particularly when it comes to distinct facets of the community.

On the other hand, the projected cost already appears steep even before the potential elevation is taken into consideration.

Exactly how much use does the bridge get? While preserving our historic structures is important, in this case, the bridge has a practical function and it is hard to imagine many visitors coming to Minot specifically to see or traverse even a repaired pedestrian bridge. As a source of civic pride and for the purpose of historic preservation, fine. But at what cost?

Minot Daily News recommends the City of Minot carefully evaluate and consider the cost of the proposed repairs, be open to public input and survey the community when the cost is determined.

While there is plenty of sentimental support for preserving the bridge, there is also strong concern in the community about government spending at all levels. A project without broad support or that comes in over budget or insufficient would be disastrous to public confidence in city leadership. Now is not the time for Minot and would just raise the specter of parking ramps.

“Maybe we need to have a clearer picture of what’s going on before we move forward with spending millions of dollars, potentially, on a project like this,” council member Paul Pitner said this week.

Agreed. Pitner is right.

The city would be wise to advance this project very carefully and only with public input.

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