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Cedar Hill residents ask county to repair, preserve historical bridge
The bridge has holes in it and is anchored into a rock with a crack in it
AZTEC — Cedar Hill residents say an old bridge crossing the Animas River provides a valuable exercise opportunity for the community and has historical value.
San Juan County will have a study completed on the bridge to determine whether it can be repaired. The county shut down the bridge, which was only used for pedestrian traffic, earlier this year.
About a dozen residents attended the County Commission meeting Tuesday in Aztec to voice support for the bridge.
County Executive Officer Kim Carpenter said the worst-case scenario is that the bridge could completely collapse.
"We are going to look at it to see what we can do to save it," he said.
Fran Fillerup, the county public works director, said there are holes in the bridge's decking and a rock that it is attached to on one side of the river has a crack in it.
"We don't know whether or not it can be repaired or opened," he said.
Charlotte Metz provided some historical background about the bridge, which she said was built in the early 1900s next to the old stagecoach station. She said her children would jump off the bridge into a swimming hole beneath it. The bridge was also featured in the 1999 movie "Durango Kids," which was directed by Metz's nephew Ashton Root. Metz said the bridge does have holes in it that residents have patched in the past.
"It's an old bridge," said Ladonna McInnis. "It does need some repair. It does need attention."
At the same time, McInnis said the bridge serves as a way to keep the community active. She said she believes it's in the county's best interest to preserve the bridge.
Mandy Woosley told the County Commission that the bridge has special meaning for her family.
"My family was baptized right there at the river," she said.
When Woosley's daughter was married last year, the wedding pictures were taken on the bridge.
"It's just a valuable part of the Cedar Hill community," she said.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.