The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday December 2nd

Morgan Creek Bridge Could Meet `Steamroller'

The Chapel Hill Museum is planning an exhibit and the naming of a 15-501 bridge in honor of James Taylor.

If local admirers get their way, a bridge that takes U.S. 15-501 over Morgan Creek will soon be named after musician James Taylor. A museum exhibit could open shortly thereafter.

?The bridge is located very close to his home,? said Owen Gwyn, chairman of the museum board. ?He grew up there, kind of on the banks.?

Taylor was born in Boston, but his family moved to Chapel Hill in 1951 when his father, Isaac, became the dean of the UNC Medical School.

A proposal was submitted by the directors of the Chapel Hill Museum. The Town Council approved the proposal on June 11, and now the Department of Transportation has to confirm the proposal for it to go into effect. The DOT?s next meeting is in mid-September. ?If that passes, hopefully we could get James and some of his family to come for the dedication,? Gwyn said.

Museum directors say the bridge naming has brought new awareness to the preservation of Morgan Creek.

?James Taylor is not much into development,? Gwyn said. ?He?s more about preservation.?

The Botanical Gardens have started a project to protect the wildlife of Morgan Creek, from their gardens to the bridge over the creek.

In the past 10 years, students and teachers at Frank Porter Graham Elementary School have constructed a path and used the creek for science projects, Gwyn said. In addition to naming a bridge after Taylor, the museum plans to open an exhibit that features several Taylor artifacts.

?James Taylor has sent us a lot of his things,? Gwyn said. ?We have Grammys, his first passport, his third-grade report card ? stuff like that.?

Museum directors said having an exhibit on Taylor could bring in a wide variety of ages.

?He?s so cross-generational ? it?s unbelievable,? said Morgan Kenney, a museum director. ?It will get people of all ages involved.?

Directors also hope to build a theater that could be named after Taylor, if enough funding could be raised.

?We would use it for education,? Kenney said. ?And for puppet shows for the children.?

Kenney said the exhibit could be ready to open in the fall.

?We?re waiting for the funding,? Kenney said. ?But we hope to have it sponsored.?

Taylor?s achievements may finally receive recognition from his boyhood home. ?Everyone in North Carolina considers him their private entertainer,? Kenney said. ?And everyone in Chapel Hill considers him their neighbor.?

Matt Viser can be reached at viser@email.unc.edu.


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