- Associated Press - Sunday, January 24, 2016

DELPHI, Ind. (AP) - A group in northern Indiana is seeking sponsors and donations to convert an abandoned railroad trestle that runs 65 feet over a creek into a pedestrian trail crossing.

A trail leading up to the bridge was finished more than 10 years ago after the land was accepted by the Delphi-based Wabash and Erie Canal Association. The 850 foot-long span - known as the Monon High Bridge - offers a towering view of the surrounding Carroll County forest, but has no guardrails and an eroding pier.

“Once it’s decked and has a handrail on there, it will become quite an attraction,” association president Dan McCain told the (Logansport) Pharos-Tribune (https://bit.ly/1JWxWaU). “It’s beautiful out there. It’s very pristine.”

The bridge crosses Deer Creek in a rural area near Delphi, about 20 miles northeast of Lafayette.

McCain said the group hopes to make the bridge “the gem” at the end of the trail.

The bridge was built in 1891 before the Monon Railroad line was abandoned in the 1990s.

The company that owns the bridge is ready to transfer it through an agreement with the Wabash and Erie Canal Association and preservation nonprofit Indiana Landmarks, McCain said.

The problem, he said, is that there aren’t groups willing to take at least temporary ownership of the bridge while necessary stabilization work is done.

After the bridge is stabilized, ownership would be transferred to Deer Creek Township while decking and railings are installed. The township has $150,000 from a state Department of Natural Resources grant for the work.

The association is passionate about finding a solution for the bridge, McCain said, and would be open to transferring the trail’s ownership to whomever takes on the bridge.

McCain estimates the project to convert the trestle would cost between $275,000 and $300,000. He said about three-quarters of that amount has been secured and he hopes the rest will come from grants and public fundraising.

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Information from: Pharos-Tribune, https://www.pharostribune.com

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