The Moline Historic Preservation Commission is concerned about the closing of Sylvan Island bridge, highlighting its historic significance Monday while offering to help.
On April 25, the city closed the 141-year-old pedestrian bridge leading to Sylvan Island because of safety concerns.
"We are here to help if we can," commission President Barb Sandberg told park officials who attended the commission's meeting on Monday.
"There is no doubt this is a historic property," she said."This is one we want to keep our eyes on. We want to maintain access to the park."
In a presentation at the meeting, commissioner Curtis Roseman said Sylvan Island was created when the Corps of Engineers dug a channel in limestone, which allowed two dams to be built -- one to power factories on the Rock Island Arsenal and the other to power riverfront industrial development in Moline.
Built in 1872 for horse and wagon traffic, the bridge -- and the railroad bridge to the east that also leads to the island -- are two of the oldest structures in Moline and perhaps the oldest spans anywhere on the Mississippi River, Mr. Roseman said.
The island was the site of a steel mill that eventually closed. In the past 40 years, volunteers turned the island into a park with walking trails, mountain bike trails and a portage.
"The island is a unique recreation place with great history, and the two bridges are part of that," Mr. Roseman said.
The structural condition of the bridge is in question. The city has had five structural assessments on the bridge, dating back to 1960, which report progressive deterioration. A 1972 report by the Corps of Engineers recommended the bridge be removed.
Laura Duran, Moline's park and recreation director, told the commission it is not known what exactly is wrong with the bridge. Past structural engineering reports did not include an analysis of the steel underneath, she said.
"We are concerned about the entire bridge," Ms. Duran said.
She said she has requested proposals from structural engineers to assess the entire structure, to report on what is wrong and to determine if it can be fixed. Once the park board or city funds such a study, she said, it will take up to a couple of months before it will be completed.
She added the city wants the bridge and island open to the public.
Today is Monday, Sept. 22, the 265th day of 2014. There are 100 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: The board of education has granted Thursday as a holiday for the children, with the expectation that parents who desire to have their children attend the Scott County Fair will do so on that day and save irregularity the rest of the week. 1889 -- 125 years ago: The guard fence around the new cement walk at the Harper House has been removed. The blocks are diamond shape, alternating in black and white. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The Rev. R.B. Williams, former pastor of the First Methodist Church, Rock Island, was named superintendent of the Rock Island District. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Abnormally high temperatures and lack of rainfall in Illinois during the past week have speeded maturing of corn and soybean crops. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Installation of a new television system in St. Anthony's Hospital, which includes a closed circuit channel as well as the three regular Quad-Cities channels, has been completed and now is in operation. 1989 -- 25 years ago: When the new Moline High School was built in 1958, along with it were plans to construct a football field in the bowl near 34th Street on the campus. Wednesday afternoon, more than 30 years later, the Moline Board of Education Athletic Board sent the ball rolling toward the possible construction of that field by asking superintendent Richard Hennigan to take to the board of education a proposal to hire a consultant.