November 23, 2013 8:24:33 PM
Councilmen have not formally adopted terms for private use of the Old Highway 82 Bridge, but they are unofficially using a special event permit policy for those who want to hold receptions and other private events on the recently renovated structure. The council is expected to approve the fee schedule at its next meeting.
Introduced Tuesday during their meeting and tabled at the request of councilman Bill Gavin, the city is considering a proposal for a fee schedule for partial and complete closure of the bridge, along with fees for use of Riverside Park and its stage.
City property manager and Trotter Convention Center director Frank Goodman said Tuesday night that he has already received calls from people who are interested in holding a wedding reception on the historic bridge overlooking the Tennessee-Tombigbee River.
The bridge is public, meaning anyone could use it even if someone were to hold an event there without acquiring a permit first, city attorney Jeff Turnage said.
"The idea of the rental would be if they want sections cordoned off or the entire bridge blocked," Turnage said. "It is otherwise a public facility, and we don't want to allow them to do that and inconvenience anybody that might want to use it."
The terms dictate anyone obtaining a permit would provide a certificate of insurance as well as liquor liability coverage if someone wishes to hold an event where alcoholic beverages are served. The policy also requires the permit holder to ensure the area is restored to its pre-use condition, including picking up trash and removing any other personal property.
Partial closure of the bridge for less than six hours would cost $400, while complete closure for that amount of time would be an $800 fee. Each of those rates include $300 security deposits.
For more than six hours, partial closure would require $500. Complete closure would cost $1,000 plus $75 for each hour after the first six. Both of those rates require $400 deposits.
Rental fees for the Riverside Park or its stage would be $150 and $200, respectively.
Gavin asked Turnage how he generated the proposed costs. Turnage said he reviewed websites of other municipalities including Nashville and Knoxville in Tennessee with pedestrian bridges and said the fees were in line with what those municipalities charged.
City and county officials celebrated the completion of the bridge's $2.2 million restoration last month.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
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