Joys of Island Park bridge are rediscovered

Congratulations to Cancer Care for their efforts in staging this great event.

Involuntarily tears began to roll from my eyes as I drove through the park to approach the bridge from the east and get the full panorama of the “Big Bridge Party” held this past Friday evening.

I saw a vision of Portage la Prairians at the turn of the century having a social experience on their old wooden bridge. The bridge, some will agree with me, can and should be a large part of the soul of our community!

Happy Times on the Bridge
Writer says Cancer Cares’ big party on the bridge should usher in a new lease for the bridge instead of a bulldozer. Submitted

How did we get to the point where we are willing to see it bulldozed, demolished, erased?

What did we learn from the bridge party? Just that Portage la Prairians can see the joy in having a social gathering on the bridge.

The scene before me was so evocative of those Crescent Lake regattas at the turn of the century. Everyone dressed in white, ladies with parasols and sailboats skimming over the surface of the lake. We haven’t lost the love of the bridge or of being there with each other. Cancer Care’s fundraiser proves that.

The bridge was a dear part of our lives once. We even decorated it with lights to show it off. The bridge can provide the focus of many types of community entertainments, from art shows to bands and dancing, farmers markets etc. It is our hallmark, our brand! When you have a diamond in your hand it must not be exchanged for a mud bridge!

I am so glad that we experienced the “Big Bridge Party” because it brought home to us before it is too late that Crescent Lake bridge is a huge asset to the community. It is bought and paid for. We already have it! It just needs our respect and some repairs. Remember, the repairs need not be extensive, as all we need is a bridge suitable for foot traffic.

If the friends of Crescent Lake bridge agree that the loss of the bridge would be slap in the face to this community, then I challenge you to express yourself. Your united voices can save our treasure, our bridge!

I hope that these 600 people will contact their elected representatives and tell them to get back to the drawing board — we must not lose the bridge! We want to enjoy many more events on it.

If this council will not listen to us it is undoubtedly time to say goodbye to them all on Election Day this October 24.


Don Pelechaty

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