After months of delay, Bloomington last week accepted $2 million in federal money that could be used to fix up the Old Cedar Avenue Bridge.
The bridge, a critical hiking and biking link between Hennepin and Dakota counties, was given to the city by the state in 1981. It closed to hikers and bikers in 2002.
Because the bridge is considered historic, it must be renovated rather than replaced. That would cost between $5.5 million and $10 million. With the new federal grant, the city now has about $7.3 million from various sources for the job.
City officials have resisted committing to a renovation without a new owner for the bridge. Bloomington Rep. Ann Lenczewski has said that in the next legislative session she will seek state money to fill any funding gap and get the bridge work started.
The bridge crosses Long Meadow Lake in the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and would link to a pedestrian and bike bridge that crosses the Minnesota River.