The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

October 8, 2007

Geneva unveils big project: One short covered bridge

GENEVA — City Manager Jim Pearson unveiled a plan to put Geneva on the map.

The covered bridge tour map, that is.

With more planning and a lot more funding, Geneva could be the home of the country’s shortest covered bridge as part of a plan to revitalize the historic downtown.

“Ashtabula County will soon be home to the nation’s longest covered bridge, and now we have the opportunity to have the shortest covered bridge, too,” Pearson said.

The 18-foot covered bridge would replace the crumbling West Liberty Street bridge within eyeshot of Route 534. The bridge comes at a cost of nearly $400,000.

“The West Liberty bridge needs to be replaced. The concrete creek wall supports are sliding into the creek. The bed walls are collapsing,” Pearson said. “This is the opportunity to replace that bridge with a new structure and tourist attraction.”

This “West Liberty Covered Bridge” would be Ashtabula County’s 18th timber covered bridge. Plans include foot paths on either side of the structure and a “toll booth” like building to hold tourist information about the bridge and the city, Pearson said.

Pearson calls the shortest covered bridge the “cornerstone” of the revitalization plan, which includes the rehabilitation of Cowles Creek from West Liberty Street to South Broadway and the construction of a cast iron welcome to “Historic Geneva” sign that will arch over Route 534, just after the railroad tracks at the Old Mill Winery, Pearson said.

New, antique-style street lamps will light the east and west sides of North Broadway. The Civil War Monument, which was built in the center of town in 1880 and relocated to Geneva Elementary school in 1911, will again be moved to a spot near the center of town on North Broadway.

“Many people have commented over the years that the monument isn’t visible to the passing public,” Pearson said. “This plan makes the monument a central part of the city scape,” he said.

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