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City, county want tourism board to pay for bridge repairs


Kristin Mamrack



Restoring the old river bridge mostly will benefit tourism, the Columbus City Council said Tuesday, asking the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau to pay a required $400,000 match for funds to do the work. 


The council unanimously voted to approve a resolution asking the CVB to pay the match on a $2 million Mississippi Department of Transportation grant to renovate the historic Highway 82 bridge across the Tombigbee River into a pedestrian walkway. 


Mayor Robert Smith noted Board President and District 1 Supervisor Harry Sanders said the supervisors Thursday will be asked to approve a similar resolution; previously, the city had asked the county, which owns the bridge, to pay $200,000 toward the grant, with the city to pay the other half. 


Ward 2 Councilman Joseph Mickens and Ward 4 Councilman Fred Stewart were absent from Tuesday''s meeting, but Smith said both had expressed their support of the resolution to him. 


"I think this is one of the missions of the CVB board, to fund capital improvements, things that enhance tourism to our city, which I think the bridge is going to do," said Sanders. "I think it''s a long-term investment that needs to be done. The tourism board has over $1 million in their account and they can do that. I think that''s their responsibility to do that." 


CVB CEO James Tsismanakis this morning said he did not find out about the resolution until Tuesday afternoon. 


"I heard some things about it during the afternoon. The council has asked to meet with us, and we have put them on the agenda for the meeting," he said. We will find out more then." 


The CVB board of directors next will meet Monday at 4 p.m. at the Stephen D. Lee home at 317 Seventh St. N. 


Staff Writer Allen Baswell contributed to this story.




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Reader Comments

Article Comment fred commented at 4/14/2010 1:19:00 PM:

"FIXING" the bridge is for the visitors and tourist. It is not a part of the city or county road ways. It does not fall under MDOT. There fore the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau should man up and help pay for this. You and I pay 2% extra each time we eat out in Columbus. This money goes direct to the Bureau. Why would it not make sense to use sone of it on the Bridge? The committee is made up of people that are appointed by the city and county. All of this is paid for by OUR tax money one way or another. This BUREAU should answer to the citizens of this city and county. I was told there is more than a million dollars in their account. If that is so then they should help with this project. If not then put the city and county money to better use-Streets, drainage, roads and parks. If you have any interest in getting this project completed you should call the Bureau or their directors (ask for their names). This maybe the only answer to the problem!


Article Comment SID commented at 4/14/2010 2:45:00 PM:



Article Comment Ricky commented at 4/14/2010 3:16:00 PM:

Finally, the city council and the board of supervisors using their heads for something besides a gearbox. Yes it would be nice to have the bridge fixed but this whole idea to spend money to get money is crazy. That's like buying something you don't need just because it's on sale.

If the CVB doesn't agree to foot the whole $400,000 they better have a good explanation as to why. Frankly, if the CVB won't foot the whole $400,000 then we should nix the whole idea. It would be better if we could get the grant from MDOT to use to fix the roads we actually use but Jackson bureaucracy is worse.


Article Comment Fred commented at 4/14/2010 5:12:00 PM:

Sounds like a winner, plans to redevelop the island are moving along as we speak. The bridge could look like the Shelby Street Bridge in Nashville, hope the plans will allow for lighting it at night.


Article Comment james commented at 4/14/2010 8:49:00 PM:

Sid, If david is Harry's brother then who will win out on this deal. Is Harry for using the CVB money? Will David give in? I guess we will have to see who is the winner here. Should be a good show to watch. If they don't give the money then can the whole deal.


Article Comment jane commented at 4/14/2010 8:58:00 PM:

Good idea! Let us see where our 2 cents are going. I don't see it anywhere else. I don't think they need a fancy building.


Article Comment harold commented at 4/14/2010 9:19:00 PM:

I heard they are going to put a high wire fence inside the bridge. Now that will look good. Cage Fighting maybe? Could pay for its self in no time! Too tall Joe vs battling Bill. Take my $5.00 now.


Article Comment jack commented at 4/15/2010 6:22:00 AM:

2 Million dollars to paint a bridge? You can do the GOLDEN GATE for that.Has anyone even got bids on what it will cost? This looks like a 1/2 A$$ way to go about it. If the City is broke who will pay?


Article Comment COLLETTE commented at 4/15/2010 9:06:00 AM:

The role of a CVB is to promote tourism...not create attractions.
Big cities do not expect their CVBs to build aquariums and zoos.
I am astounded that Sanders does not have any idea what the "mission" truly is.
Just another example of why Columbus will always be "small."


Article Comment harold commented at 4/15/2010 11:57:00 AM:

Has anybody heard what happen at the Supervisors meeting today? I can't wait to see how David and Harry fair. If anybody is taking bets put $20.00 on Harry for me. The last time I looked Harry had him by 60 pounds. Stay away from his belly David. Head shots only. Go "Horrible Harry" take Petty Boy Dave" out in the 1st round. I think the looser should have to paint the "BRIDGE".


Article Comment Fred commented at 4/15/2010 12:04:00 PM:

Collette, Which Sanders are you talking about. I don't think either one has a clue. What's the old saying "you are dealing with a SANDERS". Oh well, whe should have a winner soon.


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