Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa

Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

February 9, 2017 Featured - Kalona News - Agreement reached ahead of trial on Bunker Mill Bridge case
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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At a preliminary hearing held at the Keokuk County courthouse in Sigourney on Feb. 1, parties in the Bunker Mill Bridge case came to an agreement for a temporary injunction. A May trial is scheduled. The North Skunk River Greenbelt Association Inc. filed an injunction against the local Friends of Bunker Mill Bridge board members to prevent them from going on the bridge property.

Julie Bowers, executive director of the North Skunk River Greenbelt Association, claims that the Friends group is not a legal entity.

Multiple items were agreed to in the consent agreement, e-filed Feb. 4, including for the bridge to be inspected. According to the document, the plaintiff, or the North Skunk River Greenbelt Association Inc. (NSRGA), will take a video of the bridge so it can be inspected by an engineering firm.

The inspection will be done by The Schiffer Group out of Traverse City, Michigan for the purpose of determining what work needs to be done to make the bridge open to the public. The document instructs the engineers to “specifically view and comment on the ‘shoes’ of the bridge, the approach wall on the south end of the bridge, the railings that remain uninstalled, and the installation of the remaining planks on the bridge.”

The document also states that whatever work instructed to be done by the engineers is the only work that can be done on the bridge and that when the bridge is opened, it will only be for “pedestrian traffic,” with the group being under 20 people. The defendants, members of the the Friends group, will also receive a copy of the video sent to the engineers.

Other aspects of the agreement included that the NSRGA cannot put up any signage concerning donor recognition or the bridge’s historical information and that the donor recognition plate will remain in the possession of the defendants. If the defendants solicit donations on the half of FBMB or another organization, it must be made clear they are not on behalf of NSRGA or Bowers.

The defendants will also remain in control of the building, payment of electrical bills, a tablet, and the trail camera. The latter two items could be transferred over to the NSRGA if proof of payments in the amount $40 and more than 51 percent of the purchase price of the camera were received for the items respectively.

The defendants to have 14 days after the entering of the agreement to turn over corporate binders to the plaintiffs, though they may make copies for their records.

The document also forbids either party from making “any public statements to any media outlets or make any public statements on any social networks regarding or involving the Bunker Mill Bridge, the Bunker Mill Restoration Project, or either party in this action.”

Individuals may make comments, but cannot mention the opposing parties.

Ahead of the trial date, scheduled for May 24 and 25, there is still one more item to be decided. The parties have until Feb. 15 come to an agreement on the defendants’ motion to add an indispensable party to the lawsuit. The motion must either be thrown out prior to the Feb. 15 deadline or the parties must schedule a hearing on the matter.

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