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Johns Creek discusses uses for Rogers Bridge salvaged steel

Rogers Bridge

The remains of Rogers Bridge rest along one side of the Chattahoochee River after the structure was raised Oct. 11. In its place, the cities of Johns Creek and Duluth will erect a pedestrian bridge connecting the municipalities. Each city has received five tons of salvaged steel from the original structure for use as public art.

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — After more than a century spanning the Chattahoochee River, Rogers Bridge was taken down Oct. 11 to make way for a new pedestrian bridge connecting Johns Creek and Duluth.

The two cities have split 10 tons of salvaged steel from the original structure for use as public art.

At a Nov. 15 City Council work session, Johns Creek officials heard suggestions from city staff for how the metal can be used.

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Staff said they had met with various community groups and businesses who had expressed an interest in the steel, including the Johns Creek Historical Society, Johns Creek Beautification and the Johns Creek Art Center, among others.

Based on those conversations, staff compiled a list of four options.

The first, is to use the steel as a façade of a new building, likely one in the city’s planned town center. It would serve as a historical art piece, Assistant City Manager Kimberly Greer said.

The second proposal calls for using the salvaged steel to decorate the new pedestrian bridge, joining old with new.

Much of the steel could also be turned over to local artists for use in sculptures, Greer said.

The final option is to use the steel as trailway markers in the future Cauley Creek Park along the Chattahoochee River.

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After the presentation, Greer asked the City Council to provide direction for how staff should proceed.

Debate ensued.

Councilman Lenny Zaprowski favored the trail markers, while Councilwoman Stacy Skinner said she thought the trail markers wouldn’t show the history of the steel clearly enough.

Councilman Chris Coughlin favored using the steel to decorate the pedestrian bridge, “to retain the integrity and purpose of it.”

Councilwomen Stephanie Endres and Erin Elwood echoed Coughlin’s sentiment.

Councilman John Bradberry and Mayor Mike Bodker also leaned toward the pedestrian bridge option, with Bodker saying he liked the idea of sculptures as well.

Council members also debated a potential partnership with Fulton County on the project given the county’s experience with public art.

After a brief back and forth, it was decided that Greer would meet with Fulton County, share the council members’ preferences and report back to the City Council at a subsequent meeting.

Reach Sydney Dangremond at 770-847-7404. Follow her on Twitter @syddang_.