On Track St. Thomas unveils plans to develop Kettle Creek Bridge

Kettle Creek BridgeIt has stood at the western edge of the city since 1929, a recognized engineering marvel of its day which, at its peak carried over 140 trains each day.

Today, it remains one of the most recognizable and iconic structures in Southwestern Ontario and we want your help in saving it for future generations by converting it into Canada’s first elevated park.

An ambitious vision that will put st. Thomas on the map

The St. Thomas Elevated Park Project is the single most ambitious undertaking of On Track St. Thomas, the community development organization that assured the preservation of the CASO station and brought the rail-themed murals to downtown.

The logic of this vision is obvious. Along with the Elgin County Railway Museum and the restored CASO station, the MCR Kettle Creek Bridge is a prominent reminder of the city’s status as the Railway Capital of Canada. It is a signature attraction for rail aficionados nationally and internationally. As a public place it will be a high profile addition to the Trans Canada Trail and offer stunning views of the Kettle Creek valley in all directions.

The On Track vision for the MCR bridge goes much farther however. Through an international design competition, it will become Canada’s first elevated park, joining similar structures such as the High Line in Manhattan and the Boulevard Plantée in Paris.

In short, it will be a major tourist attraction in its own right and a significant boost to the economic development of St. Thomas.

Phase one of the st. Thomas elevated park project: Purchase. Protect. Plan for the Future.

Phase One of this ambitious project is underway. A new board of directors of On Track St. Thomas has been planning for the purchase and stabilization of the MCR bridge in time for the December, 2012 closing date on the current offer to purchase.

The total fundraising goal for this phase is $250,000. This will purchase the trestle bridge and all associated lands from King St. in the east to Munro Ave. in the west, a total distance of 1.6 km . It will also cover costs associated with surveys, environmental studies, inititial stabilization work and insurance.

A legacy for st. Thomas, elgin county & southwestern ontario

  • Preserves an important rail asset for the Railway Capital of Canada.
  • An outstanding piece of the Trans Canada Trail project.
  • A new and unique park for St. Thomas, providing fitness and recreation opportunities.
  • A dramatic gateway entrance to the western approach to the city.
  • Joins a small handful of elevated parks around the world; a first for Canada.
  • A signature tourist attraction for the city and the entire region.
  • A potent symbol of the transformation of the city’s economy.

The plan will be officially unveiled to St. Thomas City Council during a deputation at its Aug. 13 meeting. A town hall meeting to introduce the full concept to the general public is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 5 at 7 pm in the historic CASO station in St. Thomas.

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