Bridge Tribute Plaza dedicated to Muscatine's main bridges, past and present

2010-06-02T02:00:00Z Bridge Tribute Plaza dedicated to Muscatine's main bridges, past and presentChris Steinbach Muscatine Journal
June 02, 2010 2:00 am  • 

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.

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(14) Comments

  1. MusckiNative
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    MusckiNative - June 02, 2010 11:20 am
    Q: What kind of town has a tribute for bridges?


    A: A backwards hillbilly town.

    Seriously this is what you spend your money on? At least the bridges will be memorialized when your town turns into one huge cess pool, if its not already.
  2. Thenewsman
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    Thenewsman - June 02, 2010 11:51 am
    I am sill trying to figure out wht they have a statue with a farmer holding two pitch forks. Little racey if you ask me
  3. MusckiNative
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    MusckiNative - June 02, 2010 12:26 pm
    Muscatine: "Were bringing lynching back!"
  4. Thenewsman
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    Thenewsman - June 02, 2010 12:50 pm
    Oh is that what they are doing?

  5. MusckiNative
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    MusckiNative - June 02, 2010 1:08 pm
    I wouldnt be surprised, it took them until 2010 just to discover "recycling". I hear in 2015 they are talking about the possibility of paved roads. Now that there would be a site to see.
  6. Thenewsman
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    Thenewsman - June 02, 2010 2:09 pm
    Paved roads??? In Muscatine?? I will have to call you out on that one
  7. MusckiNative
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    MusckiNative - June 02, 2010 2:25 pm
    Well believe it or not I heard that down at Sammy's during their weekly bowling league/city counsel meeting. 7-9 drinks and they start talking about crazy stuff. Like libraries, electricty for EVERYONE, drinkable water, paved roads, tons of stuff even schooling past grade 7. I was shocked. I wish them the best.
  8. Thenewsman
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    Thenewsman - June 02, 2010 2:36 pm
    Now that's just crazy talk. ...............schooling past 7, I thought I had heard everything
  9. BillyJack
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    BillyJack - June 02, 2010 3:49 pm
    I agree the bench (or whatever you call it) is a little silly and a lot overpriced. I can't figure out why the second picture is of some kid going to his bar mitzvah.
  10. SE Man
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    SE Man - June 02, 2010 3:56 pm
    Despite the juvenile snickering of some, this is a beautiful tribute made possible by those willing to spend their time unselfishly towards making OUR town something to be proud of.
  11. blcostas
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    blcostas - June 02, 2010 6:20 pm
    I like the historical perspective of it and I think it is a nice addition to OUR wonderful riverfront.
  12. restofus
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    restofus - June 02, 2010 6:32 pm
    Trail grants from the state and private donations paid for the project, not city dollars.

    The statute on the riverfront is of a clamdigger, those are not pitch forks but shovels for clams.
  13. Thenewsman
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    Thenewsman - June 03, 2010 7:14 am
    SE Man said: "Despite the juvenile snickering of some, this is a beautiful tribute made possible by those willing to spend their time unselfishly towards making OUR town something to be proud of. "

    Go call the WAAAAMBULANCE

  14. Thenewsman
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    Thenewsman - June 03, 2010 7:14 am
    restofus said: "Trail grants from the state and private donations paid for the project, not city dollars. The statute on the riverfront is of a clamdigger, those are not pitch forks but shovels for clams. "

    Do you think all people from outside of town are going to think that?
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