What To Do With Como’s Pedestrian Bridge?

Pedestrian BridgeThe St. Paul Real Estate Blog recently covered the abandoned pedestrian bridge in Como Park. If you’re not familiar with the bridge, it’s near the intersection of Lexington and Horton by the old Streetcar Station building. Built in 1904, this was the grand entrance to Como Park, where guests would arrive via streetcar and then take this pedestrian bridge over the tracks and into the park. But when the streetcars disappeared the bridge became useless. With the tracks gone it seems to be a bridge over nothing (there’s even a sidewalk that runs parallel to the bridge, making it seem even more useless) and has fallen into disrepair. Now it’s fenced off to keep people from being injured by falling concrete.

Weekly guest blogger Erik Hare asked how the crumbling bridge might be saved. The problem, as I pointed out in the comments, is that the bridge has no purpose. If it were to be saved, it would need a purpose.

So what can we do with an old bridge to nowhere?

Hare suggested a skating pond and another commenter suggested the skating pond could serve as a wedding location in the summer.

I think it’d be cool to see someone turn it into a work of art. Restore it and add something to it to make it more than a bridge to nowhere. Perhaps it could even be the centerpiece of a Como Park Sculpture Garden. There’s more than enough open space in the area to accommodate a dozen sculptures. Como Park already has a zoo and a lake and mini golf and an amusement park, why not a sculpture garden? (Is it a little too obvious that I like art?)

Any other options? Whatever the idea, I have a feeling its listing on the National Register of Historic Places will complicate things. It also makes it easier to attract attention and gain support, but those kind of historic structures usually need to retain their original history. But in this case I’m not sure how that happens. Hopefully something can happen, because otherwise this 104-year-old bridge is going to deteriorate into nothing.

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