Chattanooga: Fundraising effort kicks off at Walnut Street Bridge

Chattanooga: Fundraising effort kicks off at Walnut Street Bridge

February 18th, 2011 by Perla Trevizo in Local - Breaking News

The 120-year celebration of the Walnut Street Bridge kicks off a new fundraising effort by The Parks Foundation Friday as former Chattanooga mayors attend the event. Staff Photo by Tim Barber.

The Parks Foundation kicked off a new fundraising effort this morning at the south end of the Walnut Street Bridge.

The bridge, which was slated for demolition in the 1980s but eventually restored instead, is celebrating its 120th birthday.

Former and present mayors, including Gene Roberts and Mayor Ron Littlefield, were present at today's ceremony and were among more than a half dozen community members who received honorary plaques.

Luther Masingill, who is in his 70th year of broadcasting and received one of the honorary plaques, shared the story of driving across the bridge in the first model-T he bought.

Part of the original restoration campaign of the bridge was to sell brass plaques with the donors' names on them, but those kept getting stolen.

Similar plaques are being sold in a brand-new fundraising effort, but they're made of zinc, which aren't as likely to be stolen because they're not worth much as raw metal, officials said.

The new plaques are being sold for $100 each and have the name of the donor on them.

The original fundraising effort sold 1,776 brass plaques and organizers hope to reach that same goal by the spring.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.