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My Town: Whites Bridge rebuild project enters new phase | Community Spirit

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My Town: Whites Bridge rebuild project enters new phase
My Town: Whites Bridge rebuild project enters new phase

KEENE TOWNSHIP, Mich.--  The Whites Bridge Historical Society has entered a new phase in replacing the historic bridge destroyed by arson on July 7.

Tom Byle, vice chairman of the group, says it is now focusing on raising funds to build a replica of the bridge.  He says the group submitted an application for a federal grant on May 1, which would cover about two-third of the project’s estimated $400,000 cost.  The Whites Bridge Historical Society must raise the remaining $125,000.  Byle says the group has hired a professional grant writer to pursue additional project funding.  Once the historical society has collected enough money, the funding will be signed over to Keene Township, which will work with the Ionia County Road Commission on rebuilding the bridge. 

Byle says a committee is expected to decide whether to award a federal grant to the Whites Bridge project in October. If funding is approved, it would likely not be available until the 2017 fiscal year.

Community members who would like to donate to the bridge rebuilding project can send a check to the Fallasburg Historical Society; under the message line, designate that the money is for Whites Bridge.

The Whites Bridge Historical Society is also looking for volunteers to help remove burned bridge debris from the private property it has been stored on.  The work will take place May 10 at 9 a.m. Volunteers will meet on the north side of the bridge site.  Those who plan to help should call Nancy in advance at (616) 437-1927.  For additional information, visit the group’s website or Facebook page.