Jackson County leaders have been trying to use the area's natural resources to attract tourists. Now, they're also trying to use the area's super-natural assets for the same purpose.
County commissioners approved a proposal Tuesday to take over the maintenance and development of the old Bellamy Bridge from the Northwest Florida Water Management district. It's one of the ten oldest iron structures still standing in Florida.
"It's just beautiful- live oaks 100 years old and you're walking right where the Spanish did back in 1686" said Jackson County Director of Parks and Recycling, Chuck Hatcher.
The county said they wanted to restore the bridge to walking condition, cut trails and possibly build a park in the future.
Bellamy Bridge is in Jackson County Commissioner, Dr. Willie Spires' district. He explained, "It's very much needed because we don't have the infrastructure as they do here in Marianna to provide entertainment to our kids and families. So, we hope this will bring more family involvement, recreation and activities."
But the real attraction to the bridge is it's reputation as home of the ghost bride."The legend is" Hatcher explained, "On the night of the wedding, the bride was dancing and caught her dress on fire. She ran to the bridge and the bridge burned up" he said.
Spires added, "I've heard some disjointed comments about late at night there's a lady who's on fire and is crossing the bridge."
Community leaders told us they wanted to incorporate the ghost bride legend into overall site improvements. Those plans would include walking trails, a park, and many other enhancements.
Between the natural beauty of the bridge and its super-natural notoriety, county leaders said they hoped the Bellamy Bridge would become a center-piece of the tourist development council's area Eco-tour.
"We really hope to have it open by October of this year. Hopefully even have some guided night tours around Halloween" Hatcher said.
Commissioners told us they planned to fund the project with county appropriations and grant money. A non-profit group agreed to help with weekly maintenance.