MUSCATINE, Iowa -His perseverance landed Gage Huston somewhere in between what some community leaders called Muscatine's past and its future.
Huston, 30, a maintenance supervisor at Muscatine Power & Water, led a dedication ceremony attended by about 75 people Tuesday at the Muscatine Bridge Tribute Plaza on the Mississippi Riverfront trail. The ceremony capped off a Leadership Muscatine project Huston helped launch in 2006 to recognize the significance of the Norbert F. Beckey Bridge across the Mississippi River and its predecessor, the former High Bridge.
A pier of the High Bridge, which was closed in 1972, and the Beckey bridge are both within view of the $110,000 plaza. The plaza also includes a kiosk that will contain information about bicycling in the community and a place for trail users to rest and relax.
Muscatine's past and future are represented, respectively, by the High Bridge and the Beckey Bridge, Bill Phelan, Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry president and chief executive, said at the dedication.
"When you sit between history and the future, it's an awesome thing," he said.
He praised Leadership Muscatine, which is a chamber program, for working to make the plaza a reality.
Huston said the project would not have happened if not for an $80,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration's National Scenic Byways program. The Rotary Club of Muscatine also contributed to the project, along with private donors, including members of the late Norbert F. Beckey's family and members of John and Joni Axel's family.
The Axels' grandchildren - Sophia, 10, and Maddy, 12, daughters of Andrea and Brad Axel of Seattle; and Emily Axel, 10, daughter of Andy and Elizabeth Axel of Davenport -read a poem at the dedication that was written by their grandfather when the High bridge closed.
Prior to a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Mayor Dick O'Brien called the riverfront the front door to downtown Muscatine. "This is one of the really good things that are happening in Muscatine," he said of the plaza.