Cincinnati, Newport clash over repair of Purple People Bridge

CINCINNATI - A portion of the Purple People Bridge is crumbling away and Cincinnati wants Newport to pay for it.

"There currently exists significant structural deterioration in a supporting masonry pier,"  states a portion of a letter sent from the Cincinnati's Solicitor's office to the city of Newport and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Cincinnati argues that the debris threatens the safety and welfare of visitors to Bicentennial Commons.

"I clearly can see the damage," said Joe Gross.

Gross works at Wheel Fun Rentals a nearby stand that rents various pedal powered vehicles to visitors.

"That ramp crosses underneath the bridge," said Gross pointing to an area where the public can get near the eroding pier.

The parks department has erected some barriers to deter foot traffic near the area in question but Cincinnati wants the pier repaired.

Built in 1872 for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad the 140-year-old bridge needs routine maintenance.  When the Commonwealth of Kentucky owned the bridge it took care of repairs on both sides.  Newport has possession of the bridge now and the same can't be said.

9 News reached out to Newport's city manager Tom Fromme, Wednesday, but he didn't immediately respond for comment.  His position has been in published reports, however, that Newport shouldn't spend money on a project that isn't even inside the city.

If Newport doesn't move to repair the pier Cincinnati plans to fix the area in question and then sue Newport for the cost.

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