October 16, 2013 10:21:21 AM
Lowndes County supervisors approved a request Tuesday from Columbus Mayor Robert Smith to donate the county's interest in the Old Tombigbee River bridge and property west of the river to the city.
The property located on what is commonly referred to as "The Island" will be cleared by city crews once the county officially transfers the interest through a quit claim deed. Smith and Kevin Stafford of city engineering firm Neel-Schaffer estimated the property at 4 1/2 to 7 acres.
Smith said the tentative plan once that is complete is to construct a park on the west side of the structure, but he is also open to input from the Island committee, which is composed of two county supervisors, two city councilmen and other area developers and city leaders.
"The first thing we want to look at doing is a nice park over there. I would also like to sit down with the Island committee along with the board of supervisors after we clear it out to see what suggestions they might have," Smith said. "A park would be the first choice, but I'm up to suggestions and ideas. I think it will be another attraction to the bridge."
Stafford said the topography of the area is such that people would be walking down to the river on the west side.
"The discussion right now is if you have a park on the east side, let's expand it across the bridge to the west side as well," he said.
City officials will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Friday to celebrate the completion of the $2.2 million bridge restoration project.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
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