May 12, 2010 10:51:00 AM
With funding secured, city officials now are taking steps to receive authorization to proceed with plans to renovate the historic Highway 82 bridge across the Tombigbee River into a pedestrian walkway.
Officials last week received formal notice the Mississippi Department of Transportation awarded the city $2 million for the project; the city, county and Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau are paying the required 20-percent match on the grant.
The Columbus City Council, the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors and the CVB board earlier voted for each entity to pay a third of the $400,000 match or about $133,333 each.
The city, which is the lead agency on the project, now must secure authorization to proceed through MDOT''s Local Public Agency.
A project engineer then will be selected by the city, said City Engineer Kevin Stafford, noting designs still are pending. The bridge will tie into the Columbus Riverwalk, serve as an "additional park area" and be restored to resemble the original bridge design, he said.
Officials expect to have a contractor this year, and the bridge is expected to be completed by the spring, although the completion date could change, Stafford said.
"I think it needs to stay as rustic as it can," Board President and District 1 Supervisor Harry Sanders suggested of the design of the bridge. "It needs to be updated to be safe, so people can walk on it. I don''t think we need cages on it, to keep people from falling off. It needs to be as original as it could be, but still rustic, in a way."
Officials envision the restoration of the bridge, into a pedestrian walkway, as bringing greater development to the island area to which the bridge leads.
"It could potentially lead to the development of the island, with a park along the river," Sanders said, noting the county owns about seven acres, on the south side of the bridge, which could be developed into a park. "It could also lead to the development of riverfront condominiums on the island, where (residents) could potentially walk to town, to the riverwalk, to the Burns Bottom soccer complex. Primarily, it could lead to the development of the island, with maybe possibly some restaurants and entertainment."
"I think the historical aspect of the bridge needs to be brought out," said Ward 5 Councilman Kabir Karriem, also suggesting "creation of an entertainment district that could be real good in developing the island."
"That could be one idea tossed around and developed into something really big, that might even lead into a new convention center," he explained of the entertainment district. "That''s something I really hope to get accomplished this tenure, if we could find the money to do it."
paul commented at 5/12/2010 11:55:00 AM:
the whole project needs to sink in the river! do away with it. it is just silly
tommy commented at 5/12/2010 2:33:00 PM:
ya lets spend money cause we can get a grant. big deal dummies still got money coming out of pocket. and by the way grant money where does it come from the blue sky no no dummies taxes ever heard of that word sell the bridge for scrap metal and use the money in the flood zone that way the soccer ball will float.
Progressive commented at 5/12/2010 4:30:00 PM:
Model it after the Shelby Street Bridge in Nashville, it's going to be a great asset for downtown. The Riverwalk, Riverside Park and new downtown hotel/convention complex can all tie-in together with new development on the island. It's a tremendous opportunity for the Jewel.
mark commented at 5/12/2010 8:43:00 PM:
What gets me is how some people will complain about everything. If the Dispatch said "Columbus Giving Away Free Bars of Gold" half the comments posted about the article would be complainers about the bars being to heavy.
What Colunbus needs is less nay-sayers and more out of the box thinkers. How can you logically say sell it for scrap metal? Does history and tradition mean nothing to you? Columbus is rich in both and that is the reason why our pilgrimage is so successful.
Just like at the public forum about the Tan Yard Park, everytime the presenter said anything other than soccer the Columbus United coaches just grumbled and mumbled. I think the Tan Yard Park will not only be a great addition to Columbus (especially the downtown) but it will set examples of what other places can do with their less desirable parts.
Almost all I ever see on here is people complain. There should be a rule that says you should have to come up with a good idea of your own before you can knock all the others.
george commented at 5/12/2010 9:07:00 PM:
Who CARES what Harry thinks !
ed commented at 5/12/2010 9:10:00 PM:
Mark : You have a bad IDEA! I have a better one !
Not paul/tommy/ed commented at 5/12/2010 10:42:00 PM:
Mark, you're right on the mark. Most of these people who post here are clueless and out of any kind of loop. They represent only a small, uninformed segment of the populace and are nothing to be concerned about.
Tj commented at 5/13/2010 2:40:00 AM:
You are exactly right! there are only a small, uninformed segment of the populace represented here because the larger well informed segment of the populace knows that that 2 million dollars didn't just appear magically, it is our "Road and Bridge Privelage Tax" yes I said TAX that is paying for a walkway. I am certain there is much needed road and bridge repair to be done in this area with that tax money than friviously spending it on a walkway. I also hate to bust your bubble of all the great things to come like a park or entertainment center or extention to rebuild downtown, but all of these things require even more TAX money to build. Is the City going to foot the bill for that? Probably not since they were the last to chime in on coming up with their share of the bridge money. Everyone involved got that deer in the headlight look when the stipulation was given to ante up! I for one am tired of my hard earned tax money being blown on a catagory some like to call "progressive." We need to repair the existing infrastructure that is used by many before we go spending on a pipe dream for a few. You don't have to agree but have a public fundraiser for the bridge and see how many really support this waste of tax money.
yourfearlessleader commented at 5/13/2010 7:18:00 AM:
Oh the bridge is going to be a wonderful thing just like that train in the park. Why I'm sure it will go on to cure cancer and end world hunger, and the entire world will drop everything it is doing to come here once they realize the bridge is finished.
And then when its done, and connects us to the "Island of Wonderment" where you can walk in the woods behind a motel the world will clap for joy at the wonderful wonderful thing we have done that MIGHT help tourism.
Don't forget to wear your tin foil hats so the aliens won't be able to see what you are thinking.
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