UXBRIDGE: The project to revive a trestle rail bridge, located just north of Uxbridge’s train tracks on Main St. North, has recieved a $20,000 grant to cover the cost of an engineering study, which will determine the future of the bridge.
On Monday, Nov. 17, Uxbridge Council recieved a request to support a payment of $10,000 from the Metrolinx budget, and $10,000 from the McCutcheon Foundation, in order to attain an engineering study for the bridge.
According to Amanda Ferraro, Uxbridge’s Manager of Recreation, Culture and Tourism, the committee who wishes to rebuild the bridge feels it would be unethical to start fundraising without a proper dollar-figure or goal in mind.
“They wanted to start a fundraising campaign in the spring, but just recently lost a $60,000 grant from the National Trails Coalition, which was ear-marked for the study,” said Ms. Ferraro.
Ms. Ferraro explained that a Trans Canada Trail (TCT) grant of $125,000 has moved up to the National level, but that word will not come back until the end of December or early January, and may not leave enough time for the study.
“They hope that if the ball gets rolling now, the tendering can begin in January, and have report and financial for fundraising launch in the spring,” said Ms. Ferraro. “The group hopes to raise approximately $180,000 to rebuild the bridge, before the TCT opens in 2017.”
Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor explained that the Township doesn’t wish to discourage volunteerism, but noted that the revival project may not be feasible if grants are not awarded.
“The bridge will have to be torn down if a rail-line comes to Uxbridge,” said Mayor O’Connor. “My concern is that $180,000 may have to be raised – a tremendous amount of money for people walking across a river.”
Ward 4 Councillor Jacob Mantle lobbied for the approval of funding for the study, stating that “Applying for grants without relevant information means you become dead in the water. If we decide not to go ahead with this, we are effectively shutting it down.”
Uxbridge Council voted in favor of the project, noting that spending the money - which does not come out of the Township’s coffers - may prevent further tax-dollars being spent in the future.