By Stephy Mahoney | Staff Writer
The City of Waco will be celebrating the completion of the downtown Suspension Bridge renovations with a two-day event on Friday and Saturday at Indian Spring Park, featuring music, food and games for attendees of all ages.
Director of Parks and Recreation Jonathan Cook said the bridge has been under renovation for, what felt to him, like ages. He said it has been completed with a “great amount of care and caution” considering its history and significance to the city.
“The suspension bridge and the Indian Spring Park area has long been one of our traditional areas for community events,” Cook said. “People are excited to finally have the bridge back open and have this again as one of our gathering spots to come together.”
The event will be taking place at Indian Spring Park, which is located at 101 N. University Parks Drive. and will be featuring an aerial drone show of 150 drones choreographed over the lake. It will also include musical performances by Asleep at the Wheel, Jackie Venson and Mariachi Azteca Waco, according to a City of Waco press release.
Cook said this project is truly a “re-enhancement” renovation. Modifications to the landmark include new wood decking, new iron cables to hold the bridge up, repainting of the metal features and repurposing of the stucco on both sides of the bridge towers.
Megan Davis, community engagement manager, said the bridge was initially constructed in 1870 and served as a “ride across the Brazos River” to the community and people passing through the city.
The bridge has undergone a $14 million renovation project and has been closed to the public while construction has been taking place. A multitude of structural enhancements, including new support systems, decking and cables, were placed to ensure the bridge is preserved for generations to come. Landscaping, establishment of new grass, irrigation and lighting enhancements will complete the final phase of the renovation.
Cook said the bridge’s structural integrity has remained safe and in “really good shape,” but the City of Waco addressed some rusting of metal pieces and original brickwork that weathered down naturally on the bridge.
“As it aged through history, we wanted to re-establish the safety and security of the bridge and overall aesthetics,” Davis said.
Davis said the City of Waco broke ground and started renovations in October 2020 on the project that now lasted over 2 years to complete. She said they have been long awaiting this day when they could show new locals the remarkable feature of the city it is.
“This is one of the most historic landmarks in our city, one of the most visited attractions when people come to Waco,” Davis said. “We have already seen a number of calls about birthday parties, weddings and annual events that use the bridge as finish lines for races.”
After the ribbon cutting this weekend, Davis said it will be followed by a cattle drive across the bridge. She said they are anticipating a large crowd and expect to be “surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response” from the community.
The concerts begin at 7 p.m. Friday, with the drone display starting at 8:30 p.m. The official ribbon-cutting ceremony is slated to begin at 11 a.m. Saturday with a cattle drive across the bridge.