New city park bridge honors former mayor (photos + videos)

“Mayor Clayton Hornung was a wonderful man that gave a lot to this community,” said current Mayor JoDee Pratt.  “The city wanted to honor that.”

By Angel Wyrwas

“Mayor Clayton Hornung was a wonderful man that gave a lot to this community,” said current Mayor JoDee Pratt.  “The city wanted to honor that.” For the past year, the City of Baker has been diligently working toward having a bridge built in honor of Hornung, that would span the waterway at the city park.

Clayton Hornung, a teacher and coach, served as Baker’s mayor for 24 years. He resigned in August of 2016 and unfortunately passed away that September from nonalcoholic liver disease.

Hornung enjoyed the job of mayor because he loved government.  He facilitated the upgraded sewer mains that were completed within the past few years.  The new water tank on the east side of town and the extension of water main to Keystone XL Man camp also happened during his tenure. Hornung was instrumental in building an additional cell at the lagoon site to increase capacity at the lagoon. The list goes on.

A quick sketch of Mayor Pratt’s vision of the bridge was taken to Neil Moore at Baker Metal and Recycling. From there he came up with a design and started building the bridge. “Once we had a design, it only took about two weeks to build,” said Neil. “I really enjoyed doing this project for the community knowing that it will be around for a long time. It was fun from beginning to end.”

The bridge was a collaborative effort of the City of Baker, Public Works Department and Baker Metal. Permits were awarded. Beautification funds left by TransCanada were used for part of the project. Broz Engineering donated all of their engineering fees, Baker Metal donated the labor and Mitchell’s Crane and Trucking donated the crane and labor to set the bridge.

The 4500 pounds of steel, powder-coated bridge was set in the city park December 5 during a blustery winter storm. Tom Heaps and Dennis Twedt manned the crane. Luke Holestine and city public works employees were on site to help prepare the bridge base.

Concrete footings had been poured in preparation and concrete blocks set on top of the footings created the base for the bridge. Each end of the bridge reads Clayton Hornung Memorial. A light will adorn all four posts.  Eventually, a concrete sidewalk will be poured through the bridge to connect to the existing sidewalk and branch out into a meandering pathway to the Veteran’s Memorial.

“I couldn’t be more pleased how this project turned out,” said Mayor Pratt. “I think Mayor Hornung would have liked it. “ The city plans on holding a dedication ceremony sometime in the spring.