TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Anonymous donor gives $650K for Nebraska bridge

AP
Federal officials for the first time provided demographic data on enrollees, confirming concerns that fewer young and healthy Americans than hoped for have sought coverage under President Obama’s signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act.

About The Tribune-Review
The Tribune-Review can be reached via e-mail or at 412-321-6460.
Contact Us | Video | Photo Reprints

Daily Photo Galleries


By The Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013, 3:27 p.m.

LINCOLN, Neb. — Three years after a flood wiped out part of a bridge spanning the Elkhorn River in Neligh, residents of the small northeastern Nebraska city received a festive surprise: an anonymous, $650,000 donation to rebuild the historic structure.

The city received a check from the donor's Chicago-based attorney last week saying they can use it to rebuild the steel-truss Old Mill Bridge on the condition that residents never try to discover who contributed the money. If they learn the donor's identity by accident, city officials must stay sworn to secrecy.

The donation will allow officials to move forward with a project that would have languished for years.

“I was amazed when I first heard — and then we had to keep it quiet for a month or two,” said Neligh Mayor Jeri Anderson. “I wanted to shout from the rooftops, ‘It's going to happen!' ”

The bridge on the city's southern edge had just turned 100 years old in 2010 when a flood swept a section of the structure away and devoured about 100 feet of the Elkhorn River's south bank.

Neligh City Attorney Joe McNally said the federal government approved funding to repair the bridge, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. But the rules only allowed officials to restore the bridge to its original condition, without accounting for the large chunk of the river bank that had been washed away. Without a connection to the south bank, some residents dubbed it Nebraska's “Bridge to Nowhere.”

McNally said the city had approved debt funding for several unrelated construction projects, so local government aid was unlikely in the near future. A private fundraising effort yielded only a few thousand dollars.

The donor insisted on anonymity, going so far as to require city officials to sign a confidentiality agreement. After six weeks of discussion, a check arrived via FedEx on Dec. 16.

“We have no idea who it was, if they have local ties, or how they discovered the project,” McNally said. Without the donation, reconnecting the bridge “would have been a pretty difficult process. ”

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Seafood study: Up to 32 percent imported to U.S. is caught illegally
  2. Postal Service overhaul expected to appeal to Dems
  3. ‘Patriots’ back Nevada rancher; Reid labels them ‘domestic terrorists’
  4. Ohio couple married for 70 years dies just 15 hours apart
  5. IRS, other agencies award contracts to license plate tracking company
  6. Obama, House Republicans trade accusations in thwarting immigration reform
  7. Fox fires exec who used email to plan aid
  8. Health care law enrollee passwords at risk for Heartbleed Internet security flaw, feds warn
  9. Space station visit OK’d despite dead computer
  10. Authorities say they have trove of evidence against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Boston Marathon bombing
  11. Denver wife killed 12 minutes into 911 call, sparking inquiry
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.