Columbus area leaders gathered Monday on the Frank K. Martin Pedestrian Bridge to celebrate $140,000 worth of enhancements to the structure named after the late mayor who worked to unite the communities it connects.
The project is the main one produced by the partnership of 23 local organizations called Together 2016.
“The Together 2016 partners decided early on that the projects should be symbolic, accessible, family-friendly and memorable – something for all citizens and visitors,” said Together 2016 chairman Rodney Mahone, president and publisher of the Ledger-Enquirer.
Other projects totaling $70,000 and previously announced in the Together 2016 campaign are:
▪ More than 55 Little Free Libraries in local neighborhoods.
▪ 17 markers for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Learning Trail.
▪ 22 Please Be Seated Benches in local neighborhoods.
The bridge enhancements comprise LED lighting, improved landscaping, awnings for each of the seven arbors and signs that tell the story of how each of the awning colors relates to the region:
▪ Cola Red – relating to Coca-Cola and RC Cola, two iconic sodas with Chattahoochee Valley roots.
▪ Army Green – symbolizing Fort Benning and the tradition of military service and community in the Chattahoochee Valley.
▪ Olympic Gold – signifies the year the Olympic softball competition came to Golden Park in 1996.
▪ The Blues – denotes the blues music in the Chattahoochee Valley, where the famous blues singer Ma Rainey got her start.
▪ Environmental Green – connotes the Chattahoochee River, which has given rise to industry, recreation and ecological restoration.
▪ Denim Blue – represents the textile industry, which drove early prosperity in the Chattahoochee Valley.
▪ Brick Red – corresponds to the brick and mortar businesses rising up from Chattahoochee Valley clay.
“These improvements make the bridge an even more welcoming and friendly respite for residents and visitors at the river during the day,” Mahone said, “while the LED lighting provides a stunning nighttime visual, and the lighting can be programmed to change colors to celebrate different occasions in our community.”
Neil Clark of Hecht Burdeshaw Architects designed the project. The contractors were Don Hocking of Ad Hoc Awnings , Robert Teasley of Signs Incorporated, Keith Everson of Interstate Electric Company and Murray Jones of DP Jones Electric Company. Brandon Mefford of the Columbus Consolidated Government learned the software and the programming required to make the lighting work.
“And a huge shout-out to the incredible team at Columbus Parks and Rec, led by executive Holli Browder,” Mahone said. “Holli and her folks have gone above and beyond to make sure that this project was everything that we hoped that it would be.”
Mahone emphasized the project’s theme and the bridge’s metaphor over the Chattahoochee River when he said, “You’ve heard it from the folks throughout our region, and it’s abundantly clear that this is not a river border. It’s not a dividing line. It’s not a separation line. It’s a river that binds us together.”
The Together 2016 partners were: Aflac; Columbus Bank and Trust/Synovus; Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau; Columbus Regional Health; Columbus Regional Research Institute/IACT; Columbus State University; Columbus Water Works; Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley; Georgia Power; Goodwill of the Southern Rivers; Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce; Headquarter Nissan; Hughston Clinic; Ledger-Enquirer; Lockwood Partners; Media, Marketing and More; Naarjtie Multimedia; Pratt & Whitney; The Pezold Companies; The Wade Companies; Troy University; TSYS; and W.C. Bradley Co.
Monday’s event also ceremonially launched the Together 2017 campaign, which Mahone chairs as well. Its theme is “focusing on our next generation, those millennial leaders who are already assuming leadership positions in our community and in the companies and organizations that they work for,” he said.
The Together 2017 partners are: Aflac; Columbus Regional Health; Columbus State University; Columbus Technical College; Georgia Power; Headquarter Nissan; Hughston Clinic; Knox Pest Control; Ledger-Enquirer; Media, Marketing and More; Naartjie Multimedia; Phenix City-Russell County Convention & Visitors Bureau; Pratt & Whitney; The Pezold Companies; Robinson, Grimes & Company; TSYS; and West Georgia Eye Care.
“These partners are a wonderful roundtable of leaders that care about our community,” Mahone said. “They want to see residents prosper and thrive, and they are passionate about making a difference. These are companies, CEOs and community leaders who think creatively, collaborate, undertake challenges, look for solutions and, most of all, they work together.”
For more information about the Together 2016 and Together 2017 campaigns, visit www.buildingabettercolumbus.com.