- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 16, 2016

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - The Black Hawk County Gaming Association board has given $750,000 to Waterloo’s Fourth Street canopy bridge project, although few members offered resounding support of it.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (http://bit.ly/1VkYVOf ) reports that the board gave its unanimous approval Monday to split the grant into two payouts, which will fund about 50 percent of the $1.5 million project.

“Do you want to maintain this image of Waterloo? Like it or not, it has become that image,” said board member Joe Vich. “I’m not a big fan, but I think we have to recognize it has become a symbol for our community.”

Some board members expressed their distaste of the bridge more bluntly.

“I hate that thing with every piece of my body, but I will grudgingly say yes,” said board member Geoff Grimes. “It’s the world’s longest urinal, in my experience. That it’s become an icon of our community is a sad commentary.”

The project, set the start this spring, will rehabilitate the walkway portion of the Fourth Street bridge that crosses the Cedar River. It will include reconstruction of concrete railing under the steel canopy, reinforced concrete spot repairs, replacement of expansion joints and sandblasting and painting of steel canopy.

Those who support the project note say the bridge is a well-used, essential pedestrian crossing.

“Whether you ever liked that canopy or not, it has become iconic for Waterloo,” said board President Tim Hurley, who didn’t vote. “In my mind, this is very much worth it.”

The bridge was built in 1976 and was last sandblasted and painted about 20 years ago.

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Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, http://www.wcfcourier.com

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