The oldest bridge in Benton County is set to soon be knocked down, and that has some people sad to see it go.
The demolition was set after officials raised concern over increased traffic from a planned kayak park near the Fisher Ford Bridge in Siloam Springs. Benton County administrators want to demolish the bridge and replace it with a newer one that could handle the increased traffic, just down the Illinois River.
“A kayak, white-water park is something that will be great for the city and surrounding area, drawing in people from all over,” said Holland Hayden, communication director for Siloam Springs. “It’s going to be a great family-friendly atmosphere and allows people to go down the river.”
The $1.7 million dollar park was approved July 3 by the Benton County Quorum Court and will be funded by the Walton Family Foundation.
The Fisher Ford Bridge is the oldest bridge in Benton County. At 110 years old, it’s also one of the oldest in all of Arkansas.
Glenn Jones, Benton County’s historical preservation commissioner, likes the idea of a white-water park, but has been fighting with officials on tearing down the bridge.
“Why can’t we do both? Let’s save the river; let’s save the bridge, and let’s build a kayak park. I don’t know how anyone can argue with me,” Jones said.
City administrators hope the park is completed by the end of this year. The Fisher Ford Bridge has been out of commission for the last eight years.