Bridge to Kramer Fields Won't See Construction Until November 2013

City council signs off on initial agreement with ODOT for $1.2 million bridge

The bridge that will replacing the aging, condemend wooden structure that links Kramer Ball Fields to Fred Fuller Park will be replaced in 2013, but not until closer to the end of the year.

Kent City Engineer Jim Bowling updated members of Kent City Council briefly on the project Wednesday as council signed off on an initial agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation for the project.

Bowling said the city learned a species of mussels lives in the area of the Cuyahoga River where the new bridge's two pylons will built, and because of the mussels construction cannot take place during their mating season in the warmer months.

"So we’re looking at potentially starting construction in November or December to do the work in the river, which … is not the best time to do the work," Bowling said.

In addition, the city must hire a malacologist — a biologist who specializes in mollusks — to relocate the mussels before actual construction can start.

The discovery of the freshwater mussels appears to be a fairly recent one, as Kent Parks and Recreation Director John Idone told Kent Patch in late November that he anticipated construction on the bridge would start in the summer of 2013.

City engineers estimate the cost to build the new, one-lane bridge to be about $1.16 million.

Of the total cost, the project is eligible for 80 percent federal money up to $968,000. The balance will be paid for by the Kent Parks and Recreation Department. No money will come directly from the city's capital projects fund, Bowling said.

The city closed what's known as the existing Redmond Bridge to the ball fields in April 2011 for safety reasons due to problems with the bridge's structure.

Jon Ridinger December 07, 2012 at 05:59 AM
Considering that the railroads didn't keep the old Crain Avenue crossing after the Fairchild bridge opened (which was explained at the meeting probably 5 or 6 years ago...it was not a recent decision, it was made way back when it was still in planning stages) because of the immense liability, I'd be surprised if they ever granted a crossing for Kramer. And I'm someone who has suggested that before too. For the railroads, the fewer crossings the better. Considering that, again, Kramer isn't anything close to an essential area and it wouldn't be an essential road, it's a slim to no chance the railroad would grant it, as much as I'd love to see it too WITH the bridge replaced so there would be two exits.
Pat December 07, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Oh--that is an excellent idea--the bridge will be replaced quicker if the hike and bike trail needs it. Our children are are leaders of tomorrow and if you don't believe baseball is very important to these children then maybe you should never have boys. Build the bridge this winter and let the kids play ball in the summer of 2013!
Anne December 07, 2012 at 04:55 PM
To say that Kramer fields being closed hasn’t impacted baseball is a joke. As a parent who has for the past couple years now watched my son play on elementary school fields that are not setup for competitive baseball, to not have enough practices because all the fields are booked and double bookings of fields, it has been frustrating. Most parents will tell you that the baseball/softball in Kent has become a joke and have left to play competitively elsewhere, going to travel ball if they can afford it or other cities to play (Ravenna). The number of players and teams in Kent has dropped significantly and the quality of the baseball program has become subpar.
Donald S December 07, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Anne, there are plenty of places where these practices can be held around the city of Kent that coaches do not take advantage of. Perhaps the coaches which are usually the parents of these kids could take advantage of these open areas around Kent. How are these fields not set up for competitive baseball? The bases are the correct distance apart, the fields are marked with foul lines, the only thing missing is a home run fence which is not a necessity, we never had them growing up and it was not a problem.
Jennifer P December 09, 2012 at 01:16 AM
There was always something special about playing ball at Kramer fields. It had dug-outs and a concession stand and it seemed like a "real" field compared to the other fields in Kent. It is a shame that it hasn't been used for so long and won't be for some time. I have tried to take my kids over there to show them what it's like and that isn't possible. Also, there are geocaches in the area that are impossible to get to without the bridge access.


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