Last Stand for the Gasconade River Bridge??? Your help will decide…

Please, no matter where you are in the world, tell our local leaders that the Route 66 Gasconade River Bridge is important and should be saved.  This is an URGENT call to action!  MoDOT will demolish this bridge; a piece of our Route 66 community in 2020 unless Laclede County or another suitable owner takes the bridge.   Please stress the idea that the communities within Laclede County MO, especially the city of Lebanon stand to benefit from tourism dollars being spent as a direct result of bridge visitors.  Below is a list of important contacts that you should send your email letters to.  Every person on this list is important and needs to be contacted right away, before July 2nd, 2019!  In addition to your support letters being sent to these leaders, please give them a phone call too.  A sample letter is made available at the bottom of this article.

County Commission: Joe Pickering: 417-532-4897 commission@lacledecountymissouri.org

Presiding Commisioner: Randy Angst: rangst@lacledecountymissouri.org

Lebanon Chamber: Darrell Pollock: 417-664-2161 darrell@lebanonmissouri.com

Laclede County Tourism: Nicole McGinnis: 417-532-4642 visit@lebanonmo.org

MO Tourism Director: Ward Franz: DirectorMOTourism@ded.mo.gov

State Rep: Suzie Pollock: Suzie.Pollock@house.mo.gov

State Rep: Vicky Hartzler: 573-225-2876 Assistant: Drew.Cannon@mail.house.gov

State Rep: Steve Lynch: Steve.Lynch@house.mo.gov

Senator: Mike Cunningham: 417-818-7818 Mike.Cunningham@senate.mo.gov

State Rep: Craig Fishel: 417-224-0601 Craig.Fishel@house.mo.gov

Senator: Dave Schatz Dave.Schatz@senate.mo.gov

MoDOT: 1-888-275-6636     STIPcomments@modot.mo.gov

MoDOT: Michael Meinkoth 573-526-3593 Michael.Meinkoth@Modot.mo.gov

MoDOT: Robert L. Reeder 573-751-0473 Robert.Reeder@Modot.mo.gov

 

Copy and paste this Bulk Email List:  commission@lacledecountymissouri.org; rangst@lacledecountymissouri.org; darrell@lebanonmissouri.com; visit@lebanonmo.org; DirectorMOTourism@ded.mo.gov; Suzie.Pollock@house.mo.gov; Drew.Cannon@mail.house.gov; Steve.Lynch@house.mo.gov; Mike.Cunningham@senate.mo.gov; Craig.Fishel@house.mo.gov; Dave.Schatz@senate.mo.gov; STIPcomments@modot.mo.gov; Michael.Meinkoth@Modot.mo.gov; Robert. Reeder@Modot.mo.gov

 

SAMPLE LETTER YOU CAN MODIFY TO SEND TO THE ABOVE LEADERS:

Your Name
Street Address
City, ST ZIP Code
Phone
Email
Date

RE: Route 66 Gasconade River Bridge

Local Leader:
I am very concerned about the fate of the Route 66 bridge near Hazelgreen, Mo. The bridge has been closed for some years and its replacement is scheduled to open later this year. The new bridge will restore access to this section of Route 66 for local motorists and Route 66 tourists. Myself and others all over the world have a growing concern that the old bridge will be carelessly discarded and will forever change the landscape of this small community.

This bridge has been a landmark for nearly 100 years. There are countless stories surrounding the bridge told by locals and travelers. – There are new stories being created every day. People from all over the world stop and see the bridge on a daily basis. – These counts are going to increase exponentially once the route is opened back up in this corridor; thus removing the current Interstate detour which everyone is forced to use.

Our bridge provides the county and the city of Lebanon a significant opportunity to increase revenue through tourism. Once people stop at the bridge to explore the beauty of the immediate area, they will get hungry, they will get tired, they will have needs that arise that can be alleviated in the next town. – That town is Lebanon. Seasoned Route 66 travelers understand Lebanon has everything you could possibly need, but do the first timers know this? If people stop to explore the bridge and the gateway to Laclede County, they will almost certainly stop in Lebanon to spend money. The County or local Chamber of Commerce should use this bridge as a strategic advantage, promoting their own centers of commerce and local attractions (Bennet Springs???). It’s also my understanding that MoDOT has pledged to give the new owner approximately $200,000.00 for taking the bridge? This seems like a no-brainer!
However, if the bridge is torn down the momentum in which the tourist is undergoing will not be interrupted. They may just decide to zoom on past Lebanon to see attractions in Springfield or Joplin. Our bridge, if left standing will become a destination that slows tourists down and urges them to ease up on how quickly they complete their trip.

If a new owner can’t be found quickly, MoDOT should consider extending the deadline for when this bridge will be removed. The bridge is not hurting anyone or posing any risk. There are many abandoned bridges all over the state, the country, and the world. It’s a rare occurrence when an abandoned bridge becomes a harmful burden on people or property. This bridge has withstood major events in weather and flooding. Recently an independent engineering report was published that suggests the bridge is in good enough shape to remain setting in its current state for decades without posing harm.

It would be a failure of our government to see this bridge that could be used as an educational tool and a source of revenue be destroyed. People from all over the world are increasingly visiting the Route 66 community. Some even go as far as to ship custom cars to the USA just to create a unique experience.
Keep in mind the impact this bridge will have during the centennial celebration that’s taking place in just a few years. Together we can see the bridge make a positive impact for this momentous occasion.

Please consider saving this bridge. The world will be forever grateful for your good deeds and you will infuse new energy into the community; energy that will instill enthusiasm and confidence amongst your residents and business owners.

Sincerely,
Your Name

 

 

 

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