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Bridge a 'shining example' of neighborhood involvement

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A unique partnership between the Slatterly neighborhood and local governments led to the opening Friday of the Sixth Street Southeast Bridge.

The $2.3 million project took about seven months to build and opened to traffic in December last year. With the help of the Slatterly Park Neighborhood Association and a committee of neighborhood volunteers, several aesthetic improvements were added to the bridge project. Six garden planters line the sides of the bridge, planters occupy the median, and lighting and rail enhancements were added to the original design.

Funding for the project came from state of Minnesota bridge bonding, municipal state aid and local sources, according to a city of Rochester news release. The project replaced a 53-year-old bridge and is projected to last 100 years.

While delays to the project at times frustrated neighbors, Rochester City Council member Mark Bilderback said it was necessary to allow for cooperation between neighbors and local government.

"We wanted to make sure it was done right and it represents what the neighborhood is," Bilderback said.

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State Sen. Carla Nelson attended a ribbon-cutting event Friday and said the project was a "shining example of what happens when a neighborhood comes together."

"What we see here is really a testament to great collaboration," Nelson said.

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