By Paige Carrick
If you drive through Sylva, before you turn to go downtown, you will notice a newly constructed pavilion. If you look closer, you will also notice some debris hiding a newly constructed bridge. The pavilion however, is not as out of place as one may think. Neither is the bridge.
The Town of Sylva, with help from city officials, townspeople, and those in the surrounding community, is constructing a new park to connect with the downtown area. The newly erected pavilion stands in what was once the Municipal Parking Lot and is being called the Bridge Park Pavilion. It will be a location for local outdoor entertainment such as contra-dancing, live music festivals and concerts, as well as theatrical dramas. In addition to the covered stage and pavilion there is an adjacent yard is used for tailgate markets, the weekly farmers markets and annual craft fairs.
An interesting fact to mention about the Bridge Park Pavilion is that it will serve two purposes. The first purpose is to celebrate entertainment and second to honor upstanding citizens of Jackson County who had a positive impact on the community. Family members and friends can choose to honor a loved one with a bronze plaque that will be placed on one of the pillars of the pavilion.
The raising of the pavilion began in May 2008 after the site had been prepared during the summer of 2007 and donated to the city in the fall of 2007.
The functional aspect of the park is the result of footbridges that will be constructed to connect the Municipal Parking Lot, the Sylva Pool and a cluster of government buildings located on the North side of Scotts Creek.
Original funding for the project came from $17,000 in grants while the rest has come from community donations and sponsors.
The project is not complete and completion of the project will come as funds allow. Plans for the project, in addition to the foot bridges and the pavilion, include gardens in the lawn area surrounding the pavilion, a pedestrian walkway from Railroad Ave. to Scotts Creek and an improvement to the crosswalk connecting Mill Street and Main Street.
Upcoming events at the Bridge Park Pavilion include the 3rd Annual Bridge Park Arts and Music Festival October 19, from 3 p.m. until dark and the Jackson County Farmer’s Market held every Saturday form May until October from 9 a.m. to noon.
For more information about the Sylva Bridge Park go to bridgepark.org.