Bridge project is a go

Christina Thomas

Kent gets final $3M for Crain Avenue bridge

The city of Kent received $3 million in stimulus money to complete the $26 million total for the Crain Avenue Bridge project.

“It’s with smiling Irish eyes tonight, maybe a day late, but I’m still dancing a jig from this afternoon’s vote,” City Manager Dave Ruller said.

Ruller announced the news at the city council meeting last night after the vote came in earlier that afternoon.

“I keep telling people all I keep hearing is Louis Armstrong singing ‘Pennies from Heaven,’ and it certainly seems appropriate at the moment,” he said.

Ruller said the cost of the Crain Avenue project increased significantly over the last year, and the money is “absolutely pennies from heaven – a lot of pennies.”

Ruller thanked Service Director Gene Roberts for his hard work in requesting money for the project.

“Gene was successful – he went toe-to-toe with our friends of the region and came out with $3 million, just as we were hoping – so it’s terrific news,” he said.

“We certainly owe Gene and Jim (Bowling) a great gratitude for their hard work in this. You will never find a person more prepared than Gene Roberts.”

The Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study Policy Committee, which is made up of 47 members, met at the Martin University Center at the University of Akron to vote on the final decision. Roberts was at the meeting to represent Kent in the absence of the city manager.

Roberts said it felt good to receive the stimulus money because the project has taken a long time to get to this point, and it is a much-needed project.

“This project started with the county engineers in the late ’90s, and it has gone through five city engineers,” Roberts said. “At this point, we’re ready for completion after almost an 11-year endeavor to get to this point.”

Roberts said a total of $6 million from AMATS is committed to this project. It originally started at $5 million but increased because of the economy and the cost of all projects going up.

Contact public affairs reporting Christina Thomas at [email protected].