Oct 15, 11:48 AM EDT

Waverly mayor vetoes plan for long-closed historic bridge


WAVERLY, Iowa (AP) -- After years of discussions about the future of a long-closed, century-old bridge in Waverly, the northeast Iowa city's mayor has vetoed spending approved by the City Council and pushed action off until after elections this fall.

Mayor Charles Infelt announced Thursday he would veto a resolution approved by the council earlier in the month that continued funding in preparation for bids to convert the one-lane bridge to pedestrian use, according to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier .

Infelt, who has supported a two-lane vehicular bridge at the site, said it made sense to delay spending more money until a new City Council is seated. Several current council members who supported the pedestrian bridge option have decided not to seek re-election.

"What causes (this) veto is that we could expend nearly $70,000 of engineering cost in preparation for bids, and have a new council make that a fruitless venture," Infelt said. "And so I didn't want to pile on more expenses to the town."

Infelt noted the council already had changed plans for the bridge, a 100-year-old span that has been closed since February 2015 because of extensive corrosion.

Some council members who supported the pedestrian option criticized Infelt's decision, saying most residents support the project and accusing the mayor of supporting a vehicular option because it would benefit drivers who live in a more affluent area of the city.

"I am very disappointed and troubled with his decision to veto this project," council member Dan Lampe, whose district includes the bridge, said in a statement. "It demonstrates blatant disregard for the welfare and quality of life at stake for the area residents in this historic, working class neighborhood in order to provide a shortcut for the wealthier neighborhood residents in town."

Others who opposed the pedestrian bridge supported the mayor's decision.

"I fully support Mayor Infelt's veto and the reason's he's stated," Council member Dan McKenzie said in a statement.

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Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, http://www.wcfcourier.com

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