- Associated Press - Thursday, August 4, 2016

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Donors have pledged $150,000 needed to renovate and restore a historic pedestrian bridge in Omaha.

The Omaha World-Herald (http://bit.ly/2b65hRG ) reports that City Councilman Pete Festersen and local resident Nick Manhart announced the donations for the Dodge Street pedestrian bridge Wednesday. Festersen thanked Manhart and his fellow Friends of the Bridge advocates for securing the more than 100 donations.

“It’s gratifying that so many supporters shared our vision to maintain this landmark for future generations,” Festersen said. “It’s part of our urban fabric and thousands of citizens will benefit from it every day.”

Combined with $150,000 in city bridge maintenance funds, the donations hit the total of $300,000 needed to finish the project. Major donors included Bruce and Gerry Lauritzen, Eastern Nebraska Trails Network, Mammel Foundation, Sherwood Foundation, and Joan Gibson and Donald Wurster.

“It was really a group effort,” Festersen said.

The bridge connects two local parks and provides a safe passage across Dodge Street for cyclists, walkers and students of the nearby University of Nebraska at Omaha and St. Margaret Mary campuses. It also serves a social function as people hold signs or hang banners on it to send messages to passers-by.

“I’ve been crossing that bridge for 40 years, and I know how important it is to the fabric of the neighborhood,” he said.

Construction is expected to be completed as soon as 2017 in time for the green, curvy span’s 50th birthday in 2018.

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com

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