Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear showed some love for Campbell County today when he awarded more than $400,000 to help fund several outdoor improvement projects, including $175,000 earmarked for the Purple People Bridge.
Opened in 1872, the Purple People Bridge was constructed for railroads and later welcomed streetcar and automobile traffic. The bridge became a pedestrian walkway in 2006 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
But the span that links Newport to Cincinnati has faced some issues recently. The bridge closed to the public in May 2021 when a large stone from the first pier came loose and fell into the river. It was followed by several smaller stones from the pier. In September, the Purple People Bridge received nearly $300,000 in grants to help with ongoing repairs. It reopened in November.
The $175,000 — sourced from the Department for Local Government’s Recreational Trails Program — will "address maintenance needs on the bridge, specifically the expansion joints between bridge sections and sandstone repairs on bridge piers," reads a release. It will also help improve water and electric service and resurface the blacktop.
“The Purple People Bridge unites our region, brings us all together and encourages us all to get outdoors. Whether Kentuckians are walking it to a Reds game, Cincinnatians are biking over to visit the Levee, or you are part of one of the hundreds of running groups that use it daily, it connects our region in a wonderful way,” Kentucky state Rep. Rachel Roberts says in the release. “I am grateful that this grant will provide for repairs and maintenance and ensure that we can all continue to connect via the bridge.”
Beshear also gave $200,000 to Newport's Festival Park to build more play areas and "improve ADA-compliant access to the upper and lower terraces of Festival Park and provide new park amenities," per the release.Alexandria, Kentucky received $31,000 to build a new picnic shelter at Alexandria Community Park and tear down the old one.
“Kentucky families deserve safe and fun outdoor spaces where they can stay healthy, get fresh air and spend time with their loved ones,” Beshear says in the release. “As a dad — and as Governor — I know we can build a better Kentucky by investing in our infrastructure, especially the structures that benefit our kids. The Purple People Bridge, Festival Park and Alexandria Community Park are all huge assets to the Campbell County community and I am proud to present this funding to help make them even better.”