CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - "The bridges that were here before….were very important, difficult to fund, interesting and complex architecture achievements. They served
our community for a long time," Mayor Joe Riley said. "Having pieces of those remaining, then keep those stories alive."
On Monday, designer Jim Weinberg unveiled a re-design of the last remaining structure of the Pearman Bridge that sits on East Bay Street in downtown Charleston.
The structure has sat solo for almost ten years, since the Grace Memorial Bridge and Pearman Bridges were torn down after completion of the new Arthur Ravenel bridge.
Weinberg had seen the structure while driving across the Ravenel bridge and was inspired.
"It had scale. It had importance," said Weinberg. "Most importantly, it was an entrance to a community. We obviously wanted to name it 'Gateway Charleston.'"
The art project will honor the old bridges' history as well as celebrate the city's vibrancy.
"Charleston is a city of color. With Rainbow Row and other communities that celebrate the use of color," said Weinberg, "We thought this
could be one of those moments that we take a fabulous piece of architecture with this scale and use those historic colors here in Charleston."
"It takes something that's drab and makes it really nice," the mayor said. "It takes something that you don't ever look forward to, if you see it at all, and say 'oh, we get to ride by that again.'"
The cost of the project is covered by private donations solicited by Weinberg and his team with cooperation from the City of Charleston.
KEIM Mineral Coatings of America has donated paint and First Exteriors, LLC will be donating the labor for Gateway Charleston.
The structure's new status will offer an opportunity to share history with generations who never drove over or knew the old bridges.
"We don't want to lose those stories of our past," Mayor Riley said. "It gives us encouragement of our dealing with the future."