It's going to take a little longer for MacCheesy, the gourmet mac and cheese restaurant, to relocate on Range Line Road.

MacCheesy, 116 N. Range Line Road, is located directly west of Northpark Mall in the Bayberry Square Shopping Center. It is moving to 2202 S. Range Line Road, where it will share half of a former convenience store with Smoothie King.

Sherif Magd, the creator of MacCheesy, had hoped to open his new storefront last month, but the build-out will take more time than first thought. It could be late August or early September before the new place opens.

In the meantime, MacCheesy will continue to operate at its existing location. The restaurant serves variations of macaroni and cheese in cast-iron skillets.

MacCheesy is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant is closed on Sundays. To order something to go, call 417-691-8256.

Save the bridge

It might be too late, but I hope city leaders consider the possibility of saving the Pennsylvania Avenue bridge between Fifth and Seventh streets in downtown Joplin.

A recent state inspection recommended closure to both motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic, according to the city. But I have heard mixed reports about that. Some have suggested it is still safe for pedestrian traffic. If that is true, maybe the bridge could be transformed into a park where people could use it for walking and running. A lot of people are living in downtown lofts now and more are on the way.

You could create green spaces at both ends of the bridge with picnic tables and convenient parking spaces. Street lights are already on the bridge so that it could be illuminated at night.

Saving the bridge would eliminate the significant cost of bringing it down and replacing it with a new road. But more importantly, it would preserve part of Joplin's history. It's not a grand old building, but it is reflective of a period when bridges were built with a lot more style than they are now.

The concrete tee-beam bridge was built in 1929, according to the federal government's National Bridge Inventory Data. It was built to span Willow Creek and to permit passenger trains access to what is now the Virginia Avenue side of the Frisco Building at Sixth and Main streets. When the passenger trains stopped running to Joplin, the railroad tracks and a long canopy that was over them were removed. Virginia Avenue would later be opened to vehicular traffic.

I wonder how many people in search of a new life in Joplin passed under that bridge.

Two other local bridges have been saved thanks to the efforts of local residents. The Missouri Highway 86 bridge at Redings Mill is now part of an extensive walking trail. It has become a destination of sorts. The recent flooding along Shoal Creek really brought out the sightseers.

The other bridge that has been saved is the low-water bridge over Shoal Creek in McIndoe Park. It, too, will be part of a walking trail. What many do not know is that the preservation of that bridge saved a lot of money. By preserving the bridge and building a new one upstream, more than $400,000 was saved in site preparation and construction costs.

There is an aerial black-and-white photo of downtown Joplin in the Globe newsroom that was taken in 1943. It shows how dense with buildings the downtown district was at that time. About 40 downtown acres were leveled in the disaster that was urban renewal in the 1960s and 1970s. The Pennsylvania Avenue bridge appears in the lower right corner of the photo. It is one of the few original structures that has survived in that part of the downtown.

A report on what to do with the bridge is being prepared for the Joplin City Council. It is my hope that someone is considering the possibility of turning a liability into an asset.

If you have news about something that’s happening on Range Line Road or Main Street, call 417-623-3480, ext. 7250; or send an email to wkennedy@joplinglobe.com; or send a fax to Wally Kennedy at 417-623-8598.

Wally Kennedy is a reporter and columnist for The Joplin Globe.