by Max Brantley
Gene Pfeifer -- businessman, bicyclist and rabble-rouser -- sends me a link to this website, Build Our Bridge.
I don't know yet precisely who besides Gene might be involved, but if it's only Gene that's enough to guarantee a little more pressure on the Clinton Foundation to do SOMETHING about its unfulfilled pledge to convert the former Rock Island Railroad bridge by the Clinton Library into a pedestrian/bike link that would complete the riverfront loop trail. (Pfeifer put up a legal battle involving a piece of property taken for the library because he objected to the procedure the city came up with, but that's a dead issue.)
As a condition of working out a park deal with the city for the library site, the foundation agreed to add $4 million to the city's $1 million to fix the span. Exactly zip has been done. The Clinton Foundation has continued to profess support for the project, but in an evasive, non-specific way. I hear rumblings that there is sentiment in some quarters of the foundation to renege on the deal. I hope that's not true.
The website lays out the case that the work is required and overdue and that the city's liability is growing, along with a threat from the Coast Guard to have the bridge destroyed as a danger to navigation.
Coming soon: Demonstrations. From the website:
It is our plan to hold peaceful, informative demonstrations at various times at the Clinton Presidential Center in front of both the Library and at the Clinton School for Public Service. There are peak visitor times at the Library and we plan to be there. The Clinton School hosts notable speakers from all around the world frequently and the events are well attended so we plan to be there as well.
We plan to pass out brochures detailing the contents of this webpage to inform the public of the duplicitous acts of the Clinton Foundation in failing to Build Our Bridge. We will merely offer the brochures to the attendees and not force anything upon them. No boisterous chanting will be tolerated but we will present a dignified demonstration in support of our plea that they...
Pfeifer tells me he mentioned this website at a meeting of the City Board last week and hopes it will become widely publicized and encourage the foundation to fulfill its obligation.
UPDATE: Squeaky wheel, etc. The Clinton Foundation is preparing an update for the city on the project. A spokesman said the foundation remains committed to the project and the $4 million contribution. Details will be forthcoming about money spent so far on engineering studies, contributions solicited of material and money and other plans. Time line? We'll see.