TOWN OF SPRUCE PINE: Funding sought to upgrade walking bridge

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The town of Spruce Pine and Spruce Pine Main Street will seek state aid to help fund repairs to the walking bridge in downtown Spruce Pine. (File photo)

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SPRUCE PINE – The town of Spruce Pine and Spruce Pine Main Street will seek state aid to help fund repairs to the walking bridge in downtown Spruce Pine.

The Spruce Pine Town Council at its regular meeting Monday, Jan. 27, unanimously approved the adoption of a resolution supporting Spruce Pine Main Street’s request for $500,000 in legislative contingency funds from the North Carolina House of Representatives and Senate to be applied toward the bridge project.

The bridge, which was built in 1940, is a pedestrian-only bridge that crosses the Toe River and railroad tracks and grants access from downtown to both Riverside Park and the Pinebridge facilities, which Mayland Community College is in the process of revitalizing. 

The adopted resolution says repairs to the bridge are necessary for an “evolving future.”

“The bridge needs repairs so it may remain a vital literal and figurative link between commerce and recreation,” the resolution reads.

Spruce Pine Main Street Executive Director Libby Phillips has spent the past several months seeking funding for the project. At the regular meeting, she introduced the resolution and said the request is simply the first step in eventually completely funding the large project.

“This is the first step, and it’s just an ask,” Phillips said. “There’s nothing else at this point.”

Town Manager Richard Canipe said the request for state funding is a savvy move and a chance the town has to take, adding the town should receive a decision from the state by March. 

Phillips said when North Carolina Speaker of the House Tim Moore visited Mitchell County late last year, Moore and other state representatives got to look at the bridge and heard about the town’s need to repair it. 

“This is a big project,” Phillips said. “Any money we can get will help with it.”