- Associated Press - Monday, June 8, 2015

RENO, Nev. (AP) - Linde Ballentine and Virginia Beck are among the Reno residents were hoping to purchase a piece of the soon-to-be-demolished Virginia Street bridge as a souvenir, but the city says it has no plans to make chunks of concrete or other bridge materials available.

The sisters say the bridge was a staple of their childhood: their father worked in the post office at its southeast corner and they crossed it often as children in the 1950s, the Reno Gazette-Journal reports (https://on.rgj.com/1Hj2wZb ).

Demolition of the structurally deficient bridge is underway as part of an effort to control flooding.

“That bridge has been such an integral part of our lives,” Ballentine said. “There are a lot of people in Reno who love that bridge, who I’m sure would want a piece of it.”

She said the city turned her town when she asked about obtaining a brick-sized piece of concrete.

City officials say they have no safe way to distribute such remnants. They also want to be sensitive to local historians who might say it’s inappropriate to sell off pieces of the historic structure.

The contractor in charge of the demolition of the Mapes Hotel in 2000 sold the building’s bricks for a dollar a piece.

Engineering manager Charla Honey said the city would face “potential safety issues with handing out jagged chunks of concrete.”

Reno also has a contract with a construction company that allows the contractor to dispose of the bridge as they wish.

Honey said the city is still open to the possibility of letting the public keep concrete as souvenirs if they are able to find a safe way to do it.

She says Reno is exploring how that could be done and welcomes suggestions.

“It might be a little work, but it would be worth it to those of us who are sad to see the bridge go,” said Ballentine.


Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal, https://www.rgj.com



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