Monday, Dec 05, 2016
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Footbridge to history

What's not to like about putting a foot and bicycle bridge over U.S. 24 to connect the two Fallen Timbers sites on either side of the highway? The idea is still in the proposal stage and funds are needed, but it sounds like an excellent project.

The 320-foot long, 10-foot wide bridge would also connect with the regional bikeways system. The Toledo Area Metroparks District already has a $452,000 federal grant toward the $1.2 million project. As it undertakes a fund-raising campaign, the metroparks district is reviewing bridge designs that will be in keeping with the Fallen Timbers theme.

The bridge, which will be a “visual gateway to the historical corridor” for U.S. 24 motorists, will avoid forcing visitors to get into their cars and drive from one side of U.S. 24 to the other to see all of Fallen Timbers. The Fallen Timbers Monument is on the southeast side of U.S. 24 and the Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis National Historic Site are on the northwest side.

The battlefield site, still in development, is officially known as the Fallen Timbers Battlefield National Historic Site and is affiliated with the National Park Service. On the battlefield in August, 1794, Gen. Anthony Wayne defeated Native American tribes in an hour-long fight that secured Ohio and much of the Northwest Territory for non-native settlers.

The controversial Fallen Timbers mall project has been delayed and debated for months, and still is in doubt. Last year Maumee City Council approved a permit for the General Growth Properties, Inc. of Chicago to construct a new mall near the battlefield site. Initially upscale retailers were planned for the 1.2-million-square-foot site; then national retailers were expected to move in. Now it appears that smaller retailers will locate there.

But whether the Fallen Timbers mall plans move forward, mall construction must not compromise the battlefield site. A pedestrian-bicycle bridge over U.S. 24 is an important project that will enhance the visitor experience at Fallen Timbers.

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