Friday, February 07, 2014

Virginia's Natural Bridge will become a state park

A commercial tourist attraction, The Natural Bridge of Virginia, is on the fast track to becoming a state park. On Thursday, owner Angelo Puglisi "donated the 215-foot limestone arch, valued at $21 million, to the newly formed Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund and received conservation tax credits estimated to be worth about $7 million along with $8.6 million in cash for the balance of his Natural Bridge holdings that encompass more than 1,500 mostly forested acres," Luanne Rife reports for The Roanoke Times. Puglisi told Rife, “It is something that needs to be preserved as Mount Vernon and Monticello. I’m afraid we are losing the history of our country.” Thomas Jefferson owned the bridge. (Roanoke Times file photo)

The bridge is expected to become a park by the end of 2015. "The transaction is complicated," Rife writes. "The holdings had been divided into 35 tracts of land. The 188-acre parcel that includes the bridge is valued at $21 million and was donated to (the Conservation Legacy Fund). The deed was recorded with a conservation easement, which allows Puglisi to exercise a state tax credit. The terms require the bridge to be turned over to the state once VCLF retires the $9.1 million loan used to secure the balance of Puglisi’s Natural Bridge holdings." (Read more)

The bridge, in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Interstate 81 south of Lexington, is 20 stories tall, 100 feet wide, and 40 feet thick. The surrounding area has nature trails and caverns that descend 34 stories, and include an indoor tropical-butterfly garden, according to attraction's website.

No comments: