GILA COUNTY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Rainy days and high water in Tonto Creek have taken on a new weight for neighbors in Tonto Basin after the deaths of three young children last year at the Bar X crossing. 

Tonto Basin

"You take it a little bit more serious," said Troy Warren, who'd driven his side-by-side down to the water to take a look. "You appreciate the power of mother nature." 

While people say many still "play" in the creek, driving their 4x4s through the water for fun, the deaths still weigh heavily on this community. 

"I see water that's too deep for me to cross," said Jeff Barnett, who showed up at the crossing in a Jeep. "After watching the news and all the reports and seeing all of the people that have had bad times crossing this, I'm going to choose not to." 

A bridge could be coming in the future. A bill that would free up around $15 million in state funds for a bridge across Tonto Creek is making its way through the state legislature. 

But some have resisted the idea of a bridge, saying it would spur development and ruin the rural way of life on the other side of the creek. 

"We lived here 14 years, and we really love it," said Greta Snyder, who lives across Tonto Creek. "We kinda like it when the creek comes up because it's very quiet on the other side, but we also know you have to be responsible and not cross when the creek is up high."

Snyder stopped her truck at Bar X and said she would cross higher upstream where the water was shallower. She says she's coming around to the idea of a bridge. 

"I think I'm to a point now where I think I'm ready," Snyder said. "Too many lives have been lost. I don't know if that'll change things because people will still probably come and get on the other side and play. But we definitely need a bridge."

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