Historic bridge plans unknown to public

JOANN KALENAK, DCCR SENIOR BLOGGER — Does the county have plans for the historic Black Bridge near Paonia? When rumors of right-of-way discussions in the area began to flourish around the North Fork, DCCR filed an open records request seeking clues to help answer this question.
Our public records search revealed several grant proposals starting in 2020 “seeking grant funding for the replacement of the Black Bridge, located on Black Bridge Road northeast of Paonia, CO.”
The proposals are somewhat confusing since the county included a closing statement saying that their intent is “to replace the bridge with a new bridge placed next to the existing bridge while keeping the historic Black Bridge for a pedestrian/walking bridge.”
According to records obtained by DCCR, funding has yet to be secured for the project. In a denial letter from Colorado Counties, Inc. dated November 2020, the Special Highway Committee told county staff that competition had been intense but encouraged them to reapply in 2021.
Commissioner Wendall Koontz, in whose district this county project would fall, did not comment on the topic when emailed by DCCR and, to date, there has been no public decision about what the county plans for the old Black Bridge.
Koontz plans a community coffee this Thursday, July 13, between 7:30-8:30am at The Diner in Paonia (203 Grand Ave.).