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McDowell Trails Association seeks to raise funds for destroyed greenway bridge
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McDowell Trails Association seeks to raise funds for destroyed greenway bridge

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McDowell Trails Association seeks to raise funds for destroyed greenway bridge

The McDowell Trails Association seeks to help the city of Marion replace a bridge at the Joseph McDowell Historical Catawba Greenway that was destroyed by flood waters. In May, a bridge near the greenway’s west entrance on Sam Philips Drive was washed out by flooding following very heavy rains. The bridge was completely washed off its foundation, but the foundation remained intact, according to MTA President Steve Pierce.

The McDowell Trails Association seeks to help the city of Marion replace a bridge at the Joseph McDowell Historical Catawba Greenway that was destroyed by flood waters in May.

In May, a bridge near the greenway’s west entrance on Sam Philips Drive was washed out by flooding following heavy rains. The bridge was completely washed off its foundation, but the foundation remained intact, according to MTA President Steve Pierce.

The city of Marion’s Public Works Department removed what was left of the bridge and cleared mud and silt off the greenway surface.

The greenway is now open starting behind the McDowell House and continuing up to the destroyed bridge. The parking area on Sam Phillips Drive at the western end remains closed.

Officials with Marion’s Public Works are awaiting a report on bridge replacement from an engineering firm. After that evaluation, work will begin to replace the bridge. The initial estimate for materials is in the $8,000 to $10,000 range, according to Pierce

“The McDowell Trails Association realizes that the cost will be a burden on city of Marion funds, especially with revenues down due to COVID-19,” said Pierce to The McDowell News.

The MTA’s Board of Directors has authorized $5,000 toward the replacement of the bridge.

“Because the public values the greenway, and we are all eager for the greenway to be fully open, the MTA is challenging our members and the public to donate to the Bridge Replacement Fund,” said Pierce. “Our $5,000 will be given to the city of Marion as an advance match of donations we receive over the next two months. Together, we can raise the money needed to replace the bridge.”

You can donate to the Bridge Replacement Fund on the MTA’s Website, www.mcdowelltrails.org, and clicking on “Donate” on the menu. Use the donation form to give with a credit card. You can also donate by sending a check to: MTA, P.O. Box 1325, Marion, NC 28752.

The city of Marion provides routine maintenance of the Joseph McDowell Historical Catawba Greenway including trash pick-up, mowing, and general upkeep and repairs. After major flooding events, the city works hard to clear the greenway and reopen it to the public.

“The MTA recognizes that when damage occurs that is beyond routine, we should step up and assist the city with repair costs,” said Pierce to The McDowell News.

He added MTA Board of Directors thanks the city of Marion and the Public Works Department for maintaining the greenway.

“We also thank the public for using trash receptacles, using dog waste bags and properly disposing them,” said Pierce. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, we urge everyone to continue to practice physical/social distancing on the greenway.

“Please support the MTA in this effort to match the $5,000 we are giving the City of Marion to replace the bridge, and while you are at it, if you are not a member of the MTA, join us and help in our efforts to build and maintain greenways and trails in McDowell County. The MTA Board of Directors thanks you in advance for your donations and support.”

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