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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Purple People Bridge Receives Donations to Fund Repairs, Opens for Cancer Society Event

Funding raised for the Purple People Bridge has allowed it to reopen temporarily for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk as well as plan more permanent repairs.

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Generous donors have provided the funding needed to repair the pedestrian Purple People Bridge, which will fully open temporarily for this Saturday's American Cancer Society Making Strides Greater Cincinnati fundraising run for breast cancer research.

Donors contributed $350,000 to fund the temporary and permanent repair work on the iconic bridge linking Cincinnati and Newport, which should be fully reopened by Thanksgiving. The bridge closed May 11 after stones from Pier 1 reportedly fell into the Ohio River. The majority of the bridge reopened to pedestrians on July 1, but the northernmost portion remains closed.

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Engineers working on the project determined that it can be safely and temporarily opened for Saturday's American Cancer Society event provided specific measures are followed, said Newport Southbank Bridge Company President Will Weber.

"The American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk is an incredible event in the community that hits home for so many," Weber said. "The Newport Southbank Bridge Company recognizes this and has worked diligently with Brian Gibson, organizer of the Greater Cincinnati’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K, Donna Salyers, chair of the Making Strides event, as well as our contractor, Fenton Rigging & Contracting, Inc. and our engineer WSP USA Inc. to assess and make the necessary improvements to safely reopen the bridge for the annual walk to help raise money for the necessary resources for patients, survivors and caregivers."

Salyers, the founder and president of Donna Salyers Fabulous Furs in Covington, was thrilled to hear of temporary reopening of the bridge.

"Shockingly, one in eight women experience breast cancer," Salyers said. "While I’ve not had cancer, our adult son is a lucky survivor and to show my gratitude for his recovery, I volunteer. Our goal is $300,000 in research dollar donations and to recruit 10,000 participants for the 5k walk spanning between Ohio and Kentucky. Work began in February and we’re on-track to exceed all goals."

Donna and Jim Salyers have personally pledged a $25 donation for every runner that registers for the event by this Thursday.

"We’re walking to support those struggling with cancer as well as honoring those whose lives were cut short," Salyers said.

The following donors are making the temporary and permanent reopening of the bridge possible with their generous contributions:

  • Devou Good Foundation, $154,000;
  • John and Sue Topits Foundation, $100,000;
  • RC Durr Foundation, $50,000;
  • Newport Foundation, $13,000.

The Newport Southbank Bridge Company also provided $37,000 for the repairs for a total raised of $354,000.

"At this time, we are estimating the Purple People Bridge will re-open by Thanksgiving with a temporary repair and will remain open as we make the long-term repairs with an estimated completion date in spring 2022," Weber said.

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