New bridge brings hope of new opportunities for business owners

Small businesses often rely on the community to keep them afloat, but the Eggners Ferry Bridge closure four years ago dealt Willow Pond Restaurant owner Randy Mabry a serious blow.

"I hated to be here with that going on, but there was nothing we could do. All we could do was hope," Mabry told Local 6.

He weathered the storm, but many of his customers could not. "We know some people who used to come couldn’t come, and it was a hardship for a lot of people," he said. 
With the opening of the new bridge next week, Mabry hopes it increases his visibility. "Even though the old bridge was a lifeline, this is going to be a main artery to us now," Mabry said.  

Business owners aren’t the only ones banking on new opportunities. Visitors hope the new bridge drives in more tourism.  

"I’d like to see local business doing well down here," said Travis Kaminski. He’s a frequent visitor from Chicago. He’s enjoying his time on the lake, but often wondered how the bridge repairs would impact his trip.

"I know over the years I’ve seen business decrease just right here in town. Every time we come down we wonder how it’s going to look," Kaminski said. 

Mabry is looking to the future as he tries to forget about the past. "It’s a great day for Aurora. A great day for Marshall County," he said.

The bridge was originally scheduled to open Friday, but now is expected to open sometime next week

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