Trails officials hope third time is a charm for covered bridge funding

Authored by Jim Langham on Sep 22, 2010

Local officials are hoping that the third time will be a charm in applying for funding to repair the Ceylon Covered Bridge. Geneva Town Manager Doug Milligan, also representing South Adams Trails, Inc., said that Adams County Commissioners have agreed to be the lead applicant in applying for funds for bridge repairs through the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA)
“OCRA primarily funds infrastructure such as waste water, storm water and other such projects,” said Milligan. “They fund very few historic projects.”
Milligan indicated that on some occasions, however, there is money incorporated in their funding rounds that will cover some significant historic project.
“They fund one or two rounds a year,” said Milligan. “Sometimes they will make a segment of that funding available for historic projects.
“The thing is, you never know when that type of designated money is going to be in there,” continued Milligan. “It is important to be persistent in applying in order to hopefully hit one of those rounds where there is some historic funding there.”
Milligan said that it is not only important to hit a round when that type of funding is available, but several other circumstances also have to line up, such as the number of other historic applications and the significance of the other projects being applied for.
“It is important to note that this funding is coming through state funds and does not tap local tax dollars,” stressed Milligan. “It is not costing local tax payers. Sure it is coming through state taxes, but that money is designated to go out anyways.”
Milligan said that as part of the OCRA grant process two public hearings are required. One was conducted at an Adams County Commissioners meeting in August. The second will be held at the Ceylon Covered Bridge on Thursday, Oct. 7, at 5:30 p.m. Ham and beans and corn bread will be served at the bridge and the public is urged to attend, Milligan emphasized.
Opportunity will be given to express support for the bridge and to explain its importance to the local area.
“We really need support for this,” said Milligan. “We hope that we will have a large crowd of people to come and support this.
“Even though this is our third attempt, we have reason to believe that there is a viable historic project that is going to receive funding this year,” said Milligan. “There are no assurances but we have reason to believe that there is some good hope for optimism this year.”
Milligan said that local officials feel that they have a high quality project that deserves state attention. The fact that the bridge is a state historic site and is the only covered bridge crossing the Wabash River, Indiana’s largest inland body of water, should eventually grab state officials’ attention, Milligan said.
“Persistence is important,” said Milligan. “One of the disadvantages is that there is such limited funding available for historic preservation. But it is important to be persistent. You keep going for it until you hit things just right at some point. We believe we have a high quality product and we’re going to keep working on this.”



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