Work to begin in Holdingford on state's longest covered bridge
Construction will begin Friday, May 2, on the covering of the bridge on the Lake Wobegon Regional Trail over Two Rivers-River in Holdingford. When completed this will be the longest covered bridge in Minnesota.
The Lake Wobegon Trail is used by bicyclists and walkers during the summer and by snowmobilers in the winter. This is a great attraction for Holdingford. The trail in the area is one of the most beautiful biking and hiking trails in America with many great views, farmland, lakes, creeks, wildlife and hills. The Lions Club members feel that this project will increase tourism to the community and improve our economic development. A cover will also improve the safety and aesthetic appeal of the bridge.
The Holdingford Lions have spearheaded this project with the cooperation of the City of Holdingford, Stearns County Parks, the Lake Wobegon Trail Association and many other organizations. The US Army Reserve's 367th Engineer Battalion will provide the labor for building the cover. For the past several weeks parts have been prefabricated in Mankato. On May 2 the parts will be
shipped to Holdingford and the actual construction will begin. It is estimated that it will take three weekends to complete the work
On May 3,the Holdingford community will hold a community work day. Some people will be planting trees along. the trail south of the bridge. Other people will be staining the cedar siding and still other people will be painting the railroad boxcar at the city's trailhead park. Along with the Lions Club, the Holdingford Garden Club, the Holdingford High School Student Council and FFA, the St. Joseph Society, the Five Parish Youth Group, Helping Hands Outreach and many individuals will work on these projects.
Materials for the bridge cover are being paid by local contributions. Many individuals and organizations have contributed already. Most notable are payments or pledges from the Holdingford, Albany and St. Stephen Lions, Holdingford American Legion, Holdingford Commercial Club, Lake Wobegon Trail Association and individual Lions.
In the near future an entry park will be created. This will provide parking and a handicapped accessible sidewalk a short distance from the bridge. The Minnesota Statehood Sesquicentennial Commission has awarded the city $3,000 to provide
information at this entry park Cooperating with the city and the Holdingford Lions in creating this park will be the Holdingford Area Historical Society and the Holdingford Garden Club.
The idea of covering the old railroad bridge over Two, Rivers River began at the same time as the railroad was being converted into the Lake Wobegon Regional Trail. The City of Holdingford, under the direction of Mayor Rosemary Scepaniak, applied for a grant but was not successful. A brief comment was made to a Lions Club member who mentioned it to the club as a possible project. Another Lion was retiring from the Army and had worked on similar projects in the service. In 2005 the project began to take shape. During 2006 old plans and grant papers were found and evaluated. An architect was hired and discussions began with the Army Reserves. In February of 2007 the Stearns County Board of Commissioners and in March 2007 the US Army Reserves approved the project.