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River Arts Pedestrian Bridge

Updated: Friday, August 9 2013, 05:06 PM EDT
The Asheville Design Center is nearing completion of a new pedestrian bridge to cross a small stream that feeds into the French Broad River in the River Arts District.  It's still trying to raise about 8 thousand dollars for the project that wound up costing much more than originally planned because of an unusual requirement by city planners.

Asheville city planners told the non profit group that was training volunteer design students that they would have to build a pedestrian bridge that could handle a 6 ton ambulance.  City officials say the bridge needed to meet standards that would allow the city to receive future state grants for greenways.  The city kicked in about $20-thousand dollars to help with project and student volunteers came up with a design that's valued at about $120-thousand.

Some people have been critical of the city's demands, saying the added cost could have been used elsewhere since the greenway doesn't even exist yet.  Critics are also wondering why the city would need to get an ambulance across a bridge that connects to open lots that are both accessible by Riverside Drive.  Marty Black is a local potter who owns a business in the nearby Cotton Mill Gallery.  He attended some of the planning meetings and called the plan for the beefed up bridge "ridiculous."

The Asheville Design Center says the community stepped up with donations of materials, labor and cash to make it happen despite the added hurdles. 

by Frank Fraboni
River Arts Pedestrian Bridge

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