While the need for a foot bridge had been a topic of conversation in the small community of Tara, Ontario for years, the hard work of the Tara Rotary Club, coupled with support from the community is what finally brought it to fruition. 

The former Ann Street Bridge, a car bridge that crossed the Sauble River to connect Ann Street with Park Road, washed out in 1948 following a particularly hard winter and subsequent flooding. 
Photo courtesy of Saugeen Shores Hub

Conversations among Rotary members eventually turned to the former bridge site as a perfect location for a pedestrian bridge as it would link up Ann Street with what is now the Tara Rail Trail. The portion of the Canadian National Railways system that ran through Tara were last used in 1987. The tracks were removed and a multi-use recreational trail was created in the community in 1998.

"Once the rail line was available to walk on we thought that would be a great way to link that all up and keep people off the streets and give people a chance to exercise," said Rotary member Ben Rier.

After securing support from Municipality of Arran Elderslie, who agreed to temporarily lend Rotary the funds needed for the project, as well as the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority, who manages the riverbank and other environmentally sensitive areas in Grey Bruce, Rotary was confident they could proceed. 
Photo courtesy of Saugeen Shores Hub

A substantial partner in the project was the Tara Festival of Crafts Committee, who contributed $35,000 of the approximate $150,000 cost. Lallemand Bio-Ingredients, who operates what is known among locals as "the milk plant" was another early and significant contributor with a donation of $5,000.
A second, more recent $5,000 contribution came thanks to the Independent Order of Oddfellows Sauble Lodge - Tara.

A big thanks also to Hanover Rotary's Nelson Dawley and Dawley Engineering for donating all of the engineering services to the project, an approximate $7,000 value; and to GBL Construction who did the concrete work as well as Ron Nickason Plumbing and Heating who did a lot of the fill and trail work and who both donated a portion of their bill back to Tara Rotary.

The Tara Horticultural Society, who partnered with Tara Rotary for their extensive Rotary Park project on Bruce County Road 10 at the south end of town, has once again stepped up and offered to plant and maintain gardens at the west entrance to the bridge. In addition, Rotary has already received requests to place memorial benches on site.

All told, Rotary has secured about half of the approximate $150,000 needed for the project and is now turning to the community for help.

A Platinum level sponsorship is any donation $10,000 and above, a Gold level sponsorship is anything over $4,000 and a Silver level sponsorship is $1,000. All those who donate $500 and over will be mentioned, if they wish, on a recognition plaque planned for the bridge site.

To donate to the new pedestrian bridge, visit forms.arran-elderslie.ca/Donation-to-Tara-Pedestrian-Bridge

In the news: 
The new bridge was installed in May 2020 with the connecting trail work completed in June.
The Ann Street Bridge as seen in 1919.
The Ann Street Bridge after it washed out in 1948.