The Marion County Commission declared a more than 100-year old bridge surplus property and action to auction the bridge will be taken.

The bridge in question is the old Ellis Cove Bridge near the Battle Creek community. The commission first voted not to declare the bridge surplus property in November, citing historical significance of the bridge, which was replaced 20 years ago.

Marion County Commission Chairman Gene Hargis said the issue wasn’t explained very well during the first meeting.

“We discussed this (in November) and there may have been some misinformation,” he said.

Marion County Road Superintendent Jim Hawk discussed the issue about selling the bridge with the commission during the January meeting.

“I don’t know how much it would be,” said Hawk. “Two people have asked about it.”

Hawk said the 120-foot bridge would not be cut up for scrap. He said one party interested in the bridge wanted to renovate the bridge and move it to their farm in the county.

The bridge will be auctioned off and it would be the responsibility of the winning bidder to move the bridge. They would also be able to move it outside the county, something Hawk said he doesn’t want to see happen.

“I’m hoping it will stay in Marion County,” he said.

Commission attorney Billy Gouger said the commission has no control over the bridge after the surplus declaration is made.

“What this body does is decide whether to declare the bridge surplus property,” he told the commission. “It actually belongs to the highway department. Once it’s declared surplus, then (Hawk) is responsible for accepting bids and selling it.”

Liability issues were also a concern with the bridge.

“There is no fence around the bridge or floor on the bridge,” said Hawk.

He said a lot of campers stay in the area and, if the commission did not sell it, the county needs to “block it off some way.”

The board voted unanimously to declare the bridge surplus.

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