This monumental project has been a labor of love. While councilman Daniel McDaniel has led the efforts, he is quick to give credit to those who are making this dream a reality.
“…Joel Goldstein and the entire Parks Commission have been very helpful and supportive of the project. The Arkansas Community Foundation has provided a generous donation and of course, none of this would have been possible without the support from Tom Cuthbert III and his family. And last but not least, Mayor Kinslow has been a champion of the project. He’s provided assistance through the city’s street department and has been working with Sebastian County to obtain right-of-way access off Mt Harmony Road, as well as obtaining the needed culverts to handle the necessary drainage and heavy loads of the new access road.”
When the first installment of the story on this project was published, it was unclear of just how the project would be completely funded. However, an unanticipated grant award came as an early Christmas gift for those most passionate about seeing the project to fruition.
“When we first began talking to engineers about the project, we had to base estimates on our best guess,” shared McDaniel. “The bridge had been lying in pieces, in the bushes since 2009 so we knew our estimates somewhere between $250,000 and $300,000 were best guess. We raised the $300,000 “just to be safe” but the more we got into the details the more complex, and consequently more expensive, things got. Like everything else in America over the past few years, the cost of materials has increased drastically. Engineering the bridge to stand the test of time and ensure the safety and integrity of the project have increased fabrication cost as well. Our revised estimates are now closer to the $450,000 to $500,000…”
On Thursday, November 10, the Parks Commission met in a special meeting to discuss the project’s funding. A grant, originally requested by former Parks Director Tammy Briley, was for the old iron bridge restoration. The grant award totaled $200,000.
McDaniel proposed that the commission approve the plan to transfer the grant funds from the old iron bridge to the pedestrian Cuthbert Bridge project. Members of the Parks Commission approved the motion unanimously.
The Cuthbert Bridge project, when completed, will be a usable and beneficial landmark connecting the past to the future for generations to come.