It’s now on the path to bridg­ing the gap

Cer­e­mony helps open Stony Run foot­bridge that was a decade in the mak­ing

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - NEWS - By Ian Duncan

Wield­ing a gi­ant pair of scis­sors, com­mu­nity lead­ers in North Bal­ti­more snipped a green rib­bon Satur­day, of­fi­cially open­ing a foot­bridge over Stony Run.

The bridge can be strolled across in about a minute, but this was a mo­ment al­most 10 years in the mak­ing.

The bridge, and an­other nearby, are fi­nal links in the Stony Run path, con­nect­ing sev­eral miles of trail. The bridges cost more than $1 mil­lion to put up.

Anne S. Perkins, a mem­ber of Friends of Stony Run, wel­comed about 100 peo­ple, in­clud­ing a clutch of politi­cians and of­fi­cials, to the for­mal open­ing.

“This is a truly won­der­ful thing,” said Perkins, who shares her name with a char­ac­ter in the show “Parks and Re­cre­ation” who is sim­i­larly de­voted to im­prov­ing her com­mu­nity’s green spa­ces.

As she spoke, peo­ple ran and cy­cled across the bridge, seem­ingly un­aware of the cer­e­monies tak­ing place. The metal bridge spans Stony Run in the shadow of a much larger one that car­ries Uni­ver­sity Park­way high above.

Be­fore it was com­pleted, intrepid jog­gers would splash across the stream and scram­ble up the banks. But for those un­will­ing or un­able to do that, fol­low­ing along the path meant a long de­tour through the street.

Now an un­bro­ken path fol­low­ing the line of the old Mary­land and Penn­syl­va­nia Rail­road stretches from Roland Park past the Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­sity and into Rem­ing­ton.

Wil­liam Von­drasek, the deputy di­rec­tor of the city’s De­part­ment of Re­cre­ation and Parks, ex­plained why it took so long to fin­ish the project.

First, state fund­ing for the project had to be se­cured. That took two fis­cal years, Von­drasek said.

Then there were com­mu­nity meet­ings, fol­lowed by de­sign and de­vel­op­ment so the city could start the for­mal bid­ding process.

That bid­ding took six months, fol­lowed by a pe­riod of re­view to make sure mi­nor­ity busi­ness goals were be­ing hit.

Then a con­tract was awarded, a for­mal no­tice to pro­ceed was is­sued, and fi­nally con­struc­tion started.

“Build­ing things takes time,” Von­drasek said. “Peo­ple don’t un­der­stand all the steps.”

Get­ting the bridges built also in­volved a long list of peo­ple, who were thanked on the back of the pro­gram for the rib­bon­cut­ting cer­e­mony.

They in­cluded politi­cians from the City Coun­cil and for­mer Gov. Martin O’Mal­ley. There were state bu­reau­crats and ones from the city, too. There were pri­vate fun­ders and de­sign­ers. And there were some four dozen vol­un­teers.

Sum­ming up the ef­fort, Mary Page Michel from the Roland Park Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion bor­rowed a slo­gan more com­monly as­so­ci­ated with street protests.

“This is what democ­racy looks like, huh?” she said, to ap­plause. “When a group of peo­ple want some­thing for their com­mu­nity and they go to their lead­ers and they say this is what we want, and they stay de­ter­mined, we can get this gor­geous bridge.”

KARL MERTON FERRON/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

Johns Hop­kins stu­dent Brooke Langevin walks with her mother, Michele Langevin of Blairstown, N.J., across a new foot­bridge over Stony Run.

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