The Jefferson City Council is set to receive a donation of over $3 million to build a walking bridge to Adrian’s Island. The bridge must be completed in time for the state bicentennial in 2021, according to conditions set by the donor.
Family of the donor, Betty Jo “BJ” DeLong, told ABC 17 News she is giving the money because she believes in “giving back.”
“She’s had a particular interest in Civic Beautification and specifically the development of a Riverfront Park for Jefferson City for the last 20 or 30 years,” the statement written by Joe DeLong said. “The Bicentennial Bridge to Adrian’s Island which this gift will fund will bring about something near and dear to her heart.”
Conditions of the donation are set in a resolution, which will be signed by the mayor at Monday’s City Council meeting.
Construction contracts must be awarded before Aug. 1, 2019, and the project must be complete in the fall of 2020, according to CEO of the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce Randy Allen.
Allen said all necessary preliminary permits are acquired.
“The final design will be completed in the coming months and final permits will be approved during that period as well,” Allen said in an email.
As the final plans for the bridge are decided, the Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry department will work on making the slit of land into a park.
“We need to go in and strategically look at what needs to be removed and what needs to be kept,” said department Director Todd Spalding. “It’s like any other park land. It’s a wide open pallette.”
Spalding said the department has just under $300,000 for park development, but there likely won’t be much construction beyond clearing the way for paths and other minor changes.
“Its going to be a pretty passive park. There’s not going to be a lot of structures on it, obviously. It’s going to be a place where people can go and observe the river and be one with nature,” Spalding said.
Although city leaders have yet to decide on how to beautify the land, which sits between the Missouri River and the Union Pacific railroad tracks, Spalding said it should be open by the bicentennial.
“We feel confident that we’ll be able to open up something real nice for the people,” Spalding said.