A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Boom on the Bridge: an event to help raise funds to paint and maintain the Purple People Bridge

NKyTribune staff

Fans of the annual Labor Day weekend fireworks show and the Newport Southbank (Purple People) Bridge have an opportunity to support both this year.

Presented by The Newport Southbank Bridge Company, Boom on the Bridge is a special opportunity to experience up close the Western & Southern/WEBN Fireworks from the Kentucky side of the Purple People Bridge. All funds raised from this event will go towards painting and maintaining the iconic Purple People Bridge.

The Newport Southbank Bridge — popularly known as the Purple People Bridge — is a pedestrian-only bridge that stretches 2,670 feet (one-half of a mile) across the Ohio River, connecting Newport, Ky. to downtown Cincinnati and to trails along the river in both states.

The Purple People Bridge – opened on April 1, 1872, seven years after the end of the Civil War. It was the first railroad bridge spanning the Ohio River between Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

The bridge has a rich history, with several name changes, including the Newport Cincinnati Bridge, L&N Bridge and CSX Bridge.

 In the late 1990s, developers announced plans for the Newport Aquarium and the Newport-on-the-Levee entertainment complex.

The entertainment complex would be built on the Kentucky riverfront between the approaches to the Taylor-Southgate and CSX Bridges. 

Considerable interest arose to save the bridge, and on April 17, 2001, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It was also closed permanently to automobiles at that time.

In 2001, the City of Newport and Southbank Partners received $4 million in state funds to paint and restore the bridge. CSX donated its portion of the bridge to the City of Newport, which transferred ownership the bridge to the Newport Southbank Bridge Co.

The bridge has become an instrumental pedestrian link between Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky and is a tourist attraction and event venue that has seen substantial development arise around its footprint.

While fundraising efforts help defray everyday maintenance costs, these events do not generate enough money to repaint and maintain the bridge in the future.

More than $1 million is required to repaint the bridge and the nonprofit bridge company is looking to raise these funds through partnerships and sponsorships with our corporate citizens, foundations, and philanthropic-minded individuals. 

Those interested in helping reach the goal of raising money to paint and maintain the bridge can visit its GoFundMe page, and/or support Boom on the Bridge.

Details of Boom on the Bridge 2019:

Sunday, September 1st, 2019

6:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
$125 per person
($50 for children ages 3-12; children under 3 free)
$1,200 for a reserved table for 10
(75 percent of cost is tax deductible)


Ticket Purchase Includes:

•Beer, wine , soft drinks and water (2 tickets per person for alcoholic beverages)
•Unlimited grill out-food
•Live music
•Free parking (one parking pass per every two tickets)

Register online at: www.purplepeoplebridge.com/boomregistration

Or contact Joyce McMullin at: 859-655-7700 or jmcmullin@southbankpartners.com

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