Anonymous Donor Gives $650K for Neligh bridge

This photo provided by the Neligh Mills State Historic Site/Nebraska State Historical Society shows the damaged Elkhorn River bridge in Neligh, Neb. Three years after a flood wiped out the historic bridge, residents in the Neligh received a Secret Santa surprise that no one thought possible: an anonymous, $650,000 donation to rebuild it. (AP Photo/Neligh Mills State Historic Site/Nebraska State Historical Society)

This photo provided by the Neligh Mills State Historic Site/Nebraska State Historical Society shows the damaged Elkhorn River bridge in Neligh, Neb. Three years after a flood wiped out the historic bridge, residents in the Neligh received a Secret Santa surprise that no one thought possible: an anonymous, $650,000 donation to rebuild it. (AP Photo/Neligh Mills State Historic Site/Nebraska State Historical Society)

Three years after a flood wiped out a 100-year-old bridge spanning the Elkhorn River in Neligh, residents of the small northeastern Nebraska city received a festive surprise: an anonymous, $650,000 donation to rebuild the structure.

The city received a check from the donor's Chicago-based attorney last week for use on the condition that residents never try to uncover the donor's identity. If they discover the name by accident, city officials must stay sworn to secrecy.

A flood damaged swept away a section of the steel-truss bridge in 2010 and devoured a chunk of the river's south bank. Residents tried to raise the money for repairs, but collected only a few thousand dollars.

Mayor Jeri Anderson says she was amazed when she learned of the donation.


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