I wanted to give you an update on the bridge over Temescal Creek.
A few weeks ago, our congregation gave me the go-ahead to close down the bridge in front of our sanctuary building. Originally our plan was to repair the bridge in places where it was starting to rot, but upon closer inspection, it turned out the rot was more extensive than previously thought. The bridge wasn’t safe. Something had to be done.
It turns out we cannot build a new bridge or even fix an old bridge without proper permits; said permits are expensive, and there is no guarantee the city will even give us the permits because the city is working hard to restore the health of creeks in Oakland.
The news of the possible change to the front of our church has led to an outpouring of creativity in our congregation, which generally fall into three categories.
- The first category involves removing the bridge and doing something to improve the view of the creek from both banks. This would be the least expensive and probably the most beneficial to the creek itself.
- The second category of solutions involves employing the services of a pest-control contractor to repair the bridge exactly as it is. It turns out we may be able to get a permit to repair the bridge and our front deck if we present the work to the city as rot abatement rather than renovation. This option would be expensive and would provide the most continuity for the church.
- The third option involves a new bridge. Chad Dewitt, a friend of MPC who is an architect, has been talking to me about design ideas, and he has been talking to the city about the permitting process. This option would be most expensive, but it would give us the opportunity to build something truly remarkable in the approach to the church.
In the church office we have electronic copies of the pest contractor’s report and we have information on permitting from Chad. We are happy to share this information with anyone who is interested and we are willing to share any information that becomes available going forward.
We will be having a church-wide meeting in the end of April to hear people’s ideas about the bridge and to gage the community’s support for our various options. As we look forward to that meeting, there are a couple of things I hope we will keep in mind.
First, nothing is permanent. If we take down the bridge, and later decide we want to build a new one, the only things stopping us are money and imagination. If we want to preserve the bridge as it is and change our mind, that’s fine. If we build a new bridge and find it lacking we can always hang Christmas lights on it.
Second, I hope you will join me in taking joy in the outpouring of interest and creativity that has happened around the bridge. We cannot do everything everyone wants, but even those whose ideas aren’t pursued, can be glad, as I am, to be part of so creative and energetic a congregation.