JEFFERSON CITY - The city council announced the Bicentennial Bridge is expected to officially have a contractor by November 1 of this year, but the announcement has had mixed opinions from the community.
"Jefferson City is always looking for something fun to do and something new to do so I think for citizens to get in the way of progress through private funding makes us look ungrateful," Nathan Hays said.
The structure is set to be an 826-foot bridge leading to the riverfront area on Adrian's Island and is about a mile long stretching from the state Capitol to the former Missouri State Penitentiary. B.J. DeLong donated over $3 million to the project.
The location, Adrian's island, has been a concern among residents as they fear flooding could lead to more long term problems. A handful of residents commented on a Facebook post saying the bridge will ultimately cost money for clean up and repairs.
"It seems like there's a lot on the [city's] plate right now as it is," said Chris Volmert. "I don't know how they're going to cover all that with the parks department as it stands."
Others see this as an opportunity for the city. Hays said he believes if the funding is coming from a private resource then the donor should be allowed to do what they please with the plot.
"I have the motto that everyone in Jefferson City wants Jefferson City to be better, but no body wants to pay for it so if someone is willing to pay for it let them pay for it and if they have a vision and a project and people behind them let them do their thing," Hays said.
The bridge will primarily be used for biking and walking so Volmert sees this as a very limited opportunity.
"It's not like they're going to be able to develop Adrian Island further," Volmert said. "Kind of seems like a bridge to nowhere."
Hays said he believes people should truly try to get involved in Jefferson City and be aware of opportunities available.
"As opposed to sitting at home arm chair quarterbacking and saying we should do this or we should do that," Hays said.
Aside from previously raised concerns, Volmert said he believes following the tornado, there is no need for the city to jump into another project before they can resolve prior existing problems.
"There's plenty for the parks department to do here now," Volmert said. "They should, I think, focus on what they've got right now and improve what you can."
The bridge is anticipated to be completed by 2021.