The Harvey Redmond Bridge is the single lane access bridge for the Kramer Ballfields just down the hill from Fred Fuller Park on Middlebury Road.
The old wood bridge has great nostalgia value but after 50+ years of sitting in the Cuyahoga River its piers are rotten and the structure is in need of replacement.
This isn’t a news flash for any of Kent’s baseball players and their parents who have already had to endure a season without vehicle access to the Kramer fields but since it looks like another season will be lost pending bridge re-construction, Kent Parks and Recreation has asked for help to explain what’s going on with the bridge and why it’s taking so long to replace it.
To that end, Kent Parks and Rec have put together an informational flyer on the bridge that you can read below. The short answer is that if you have a chance to use about $1 million in federal funds to build a new bridge rather spending local tax dollars, it’s hard to not take it, even if it means waiting a year or two to get the project queued up to receive the federal dollars.
No doubt that the waiting has been painful but $1 million is a lot of money and Kent Parks and Rec couldn’t afford to leave that kind of money on the table, so they bit the bullet and tried to make the delay as palatable as possible but I know they’re as anxious as anyone to see the project get rolling.
There’s been some mention of fresh water mussels in the river bed around the bridge as a source of delay and extra costs — and while there are indeed some mussels around the bridge, they are small in numbers and they can be easily relocated in a couple of days at a cost under $5,000, so we can’t blame the delays on the mussels.
Ultimately, the delays are the price we’re paying for taking advantage of federal dollars rather than spending down our limited tax dollars.