The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

October 9, 2011

Ashtabula County has it covered!

Officials dedicate nation’s shortest covered bridge

GENEVA —  

 Area leaders celebrated a spirit of cooperation Saturday afternoon during the dedication of the nation’s shortest covered bridge.
“Who would have guessed four years ago that this would happen,” said Geneva City Manager James Pearson. He said the idea germinated from a discussion with Kevin Grippi, of Smolen Engineering, following a meeting with Ashtabula County commissioners.
“Kevin turned to me and said wouldn’t that be great to have the nation’s smallest covered bridge ... I said almost instantaneously. I know exactly the place (for the bridge),” Pearson said.
“When I walked out of that meeting I didn’t have a clue how we’d do it,” Pearson said. He said the former bridge over a small creek was the worst rated structure in the city at the time.
“We were going to have to close this road (West Liberty Street),” Pearson said.
Pearson credited Smolen Engineer, A-Tech (formerly known as the Ashtabula County Joint Vocational School) and many other donors and volunteers that helped make the new bridge a reality.
“This bridge is a testimony to our willingness (as a community) to come together,” said William Buskirk, president of Geneva City Council.
“This stands as a symbol of what can happen if we all work together,” said Dr. Jerome Brockway, superintendent of A-Tech.
Mike Miller, director of the Ohio Public Works Commission, said his commission helps fund projects in communities across the state. 
“We are merely a state and local partnership,” Miller said of the group that has helped fund $4 million in city projects and $60 million throughout the county.
“This is something you can point to for the rest of your lives,” said Sen. Capri Cafaro while addressing the carpentry students that helped build the bridge.
State Rep. Casey Kozlowski also expressed thanks to all those that worked together to make the project a reality. “We have another reason Ashtabula County is a great place,” he said.

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