What does it mean when neighbors share the same ZIP code?

Following what she believes is a misunderstanding, one local resident is speaking out saying: “We all live in this place. We are all the same neighborhood.”

Mary Grodie, who lives on Grodie Meadows Lane, south of the Bend Bridge but in the 63069 ZIP code, is dismayed that reports about closing the bridge appear to separate her and her neighbors from Pacific in more ways than the closing of the bridge.

“We have a Pacific address,” Grodie said. “We are part of Pacific.”

The bridge was built in 1916 and closed Nov. 15 due to structural problems that caused MoDOT and Franklin County officials to deem the bridge unsafe.

Bend Road residents worry the perception that their neighborhood is not part of Pacific may have influenced officials who in the past determined that the bridge was just Franklin County’s problem.

“The newspaper continually misidentifies this area as Catawissa,” Grodie said. “Everyone who lives along the Bend Road, as well as most of those who live off Highway N south of the Bend Road, have Pacific ZIP codes. We do not live in Catawissa or the Catawissa area.”

Bend Road residents say the bridge forms a vital connection and what affects one of the participants affects all.

Grodie and her neighbors want the bridge to be repaired, reopened and left open until a new bridge can be built.

They say running to the store in Pacific is as important to them as it is to people who live within the Pacific city limits. This connection was established 97 years ago when the bridge was built.

News stories from 1915 and 1916 report efforts by local citizens to convince officials to build the bridge at that place, which they called the Bend neighborhood.

Grodie said she decided to speak out after the bridge was closed and wants to address the perception of where Bend Road residents live.

“It seems that people perceive the Meramec River as a dead end and all parts south must belong elsewhere,” she said. “I have always associated myself as being from Pacific, but also part of the larger community that includes Catawissa where I go to church.

“We are all part of the same neighborhood/community regardless of the geographical boundaries.”

The county as a whole may suffer if the Bend neighborhood citizens end up driving completely out of the area for shopping and vital services, she added.

“What affects one part of our larger community ends up affecting all of us,” Grodie said. “Closing the bridge impacts and hurts all of us (when you consider) the economic dollar multiplier effect. And, in the long run, that effect may end up hurting the county economics as well.”

Grodie said she is not speaking out in anger and does not want her comments about neighborhood and community to hurt anyone’s feelings.

“I just want people to know that we consider ourselves part of the Pacific community.”