Photo from the Halls Mills Covered Bridge blog. Reproduced by permission.
The Halls Mills Bridge in Neversink was luckier than the Old Blenheim Bridge over the Schoharie Creek -- it survived Irene's ravages mostly intact.
But the stone pier that supports the bridge took heavy damage in last year's floods, and since then, the bridge has been closed to the walkers and horseback riders that have been using it to cross the Neversink River since it was built in 1912.
It will take hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair the bridge, and FEMA rules state that New York State and Sullivan County must come up with a quarter of the cost. But if it's not done soon, the bridge could collapse entirely, never to be rebuilt.
The bridge may have another lease on life, the Sullivan County Democrat reports this week. FEMA has agreed to allocate $400,000 for the repairs, and the county and its bridge-loving citizens are finding creative ways to come up with their portion of the costs.
That contribution can be made with in-kind services, not just money, and Neversink Supervisor Mark McCarthy said the town is ready to help.
“Whatever the county tells us to do, we’ll go up and do,” McCarthy affirmed yesterday. “That bridge has been here forever, and we’d love to save it.”
Friends of the Halls Mills Bridge are also fundraising and blogging about the effort to keep the bridge intact, via a Facebook page and a Halls Mills Covered Bridge blog. Want to help the effort? Stop by the Neversink town hall and pick up a $20 Halls Mills Bridge tote bag, and the group will give $10 to the New York State Covered Bridge Society's fund to save the Halls Mills Bridge.