Save the Low Water Bridge

Today was "Research Day" to learn more about our endangered Low Water Bridge in South Joplin.

In Neosho, in Newton County, I visited the Courthouse, the County Commission, the Historical Society, the Library and the Daily News.

In short, most knew nothing about the Bridge or Grand Falls history.  I did have a brief conversation with Newton County Commissioner Jim Cook who said that their two-million-dollar contribution comes from county designated MoDot funds that must be spent, or they will go back to Modot. I did get responses from a few locals who said that there are more important infrastructure needs locally than helping Joplin build a new bridge, so we might want to encourage Newton County residents to 'Just say NO' to Joplin and keep their money, or at least use it on an alternate bridge location.

In Joplin, I obtained this map (below) that shows that the City annexed the area marked in green in 1964, and that the City "owns" the land between the two parallel streets, N. Glendale Rd. and S. Murphy Ave.. This means that an alternate location for a new bridge could be used without the need to 'purchase private property access', and also shows that 'Grand Falls Estate' property owners, who have already attended two, non-advertised "public" hearings, are not even in the City limits!  In the meantime, the City still continues to survey and study placing their bridge over a demolished Low Water Bridge...something that we MUST not allow to happen.

The Save the Low Water Bridge Committee is working on plans to meet one-on-one with Joplin City Council members now that there are several new ones that were recently sworn in. There are also plans to solicit volunteers to obtain petition signings, make presentations and perhaps hold a "Save the Bridge - Save our Park" Picnic & Rally in May at McIndoe Park.

No one knows when future 'advertised' public hearings with the City will be scheduled, but in the interim, we need to tell our representatives that the proposed Low Water Bridge demolition is a 'Solution in search of a Problem', and have thousands of petitions to back that up! Tell your friends, your congregation, your club etc. to go to and join with us. Thanks.

Update 3-8-16

In 2015, several unannounced public hearings were held locally to discuss the proposed construction of a new bridge that would replace the existing Low Water Bridge in Joplin's McIndoe Park. The hearings were mostly attended by 'invited' residents of the homes on the South side of the river who were more likely to support the new bridge, which would cost Joplin and Newton County taxpayers an estimated total of two to three million dollars.

The 'Save the Low Water Bridge' committee was formed in November to see that this historic, ninety-seven year old bridge is preserved at least for pedestrian use, and has researched many reasons why a new, modern 'replacement' bridge threatens to have a negative effect on the beauty of the Park, interfere with the Audubon Hiking Trail, reduce property values for nearby homeowners, block existing scenic views and create additional traffic noise. Furthermore, it makes no sense to construct a bridge in the known flood zone, and we have suggested to the City that a new bridge could, and should, be built between the East Park boundary and the I-44 bridges where the elevation is out of the flood plain, and where McIndoe Park and the Audubon Hiking Trail would not be affected.

To that end, the 'Save the Low Water Bridge Committee'  requested and received an application from the City of Joplin's Planning & Development Office, so that we may apply for a nomination of a 'Local Historic Landmark Designation' for McIndoe Park and the Shoal Creek Low Water Bridge, which is currently in progress. 

Our 800+ online petition signers and supporters agree that McIndoe Park AND the Low Water Bridge are so closely intertwined that the loss of the bridge itself will have a dramatic, adverse effect on the Park, so our Historic Landmark filing will be to designate both together as one Historic Landmark. In addition, a separate completed application to 'Missouri Preservation' for a listing in the State's 'Places in Peril' program was mailed on March 1st., and selections will be made in July.

It should also be noted that the removal of the Low Water Bridge will have a negative environmental impact, as the "Neosho Mucket Mussel" and the "Rabbitsfoot" are on the U.S.Fish and Wildlife 'Critically-Endangered Species List'.

To add to our submission, the following links are offered for consideration:

Our five-minute video may be seen HERE .

A three-minute GoPro video of the bridge showing the existing scenery is HERE . 

Our ultimate goal is to have well over 5000 petition signatures in time for the first open and advertised public hearings concerning this project in the not-to-distant future. We presently have nearly seven-hundred signature/comments to date, and our Petition may be found HERE .   

This is a lofty goal for our "Grassroots" Preservation effort, and we have invited supporters belonging to civic, historic and preservation-minded organizations to e-mail us at: so we can schedule a presentation. 

Our Facebook page is only four months old and has over 1400 followers at this time. The page link is: where you will find many comments, historic details and photographs which you have our permission to use or request.

We also have a website at where all of the above links may be accessed, and we will archive additional photographs, videos etc. in the coming months. All photographs and video may be copied by JATSO and the Media as needed.

As the Chairman and Founder of the Save the Low Water Bridge Committee, I would greatly appreciate your involvement by considering our efforts to save this 97 year old bridge and Park for future generations to enjoy. Thanks for your consideration and feel free to contact me at 417-385-6966 to discuss our plans.  

Roderick Harsh-Chairman
Please Note that this map shows the location of Grand Falls, the Low Water Bridge and McIndoe Park in Newton County MO.
McIndoe Park extends a quarter-mile in either direction from the Low Water Bridge location on the North side of the river.