Cecil’s Bridge to the Past: Federal Dollars Come Home to Help With Gilpin Falls Covered Bridge

As many of you are aware the county recently obtained a $1-million dollar grant from the federal Covered Bridge Preservation Program. Soon after the award was announced a Whig editorial calling it “Cecil’s own little bridge to nowhere” suggested that the county make a “symbolic gesture” by refusing to accept the grant. Also Commissioner Tome voted against receiving $1-million in federal dollars while the other officials voted in favor. 

Gilpin Falls covered bridge about 1910

Stony Run Covered Bridge was located near Gilpin's

 

As regular readers to A Window on Cecil County’s Past are aware we strongly favor preservation.  In this case, federal dollars from a restricted program are going to substantially aid the county in saving this centuries old cultural resource. By refusing to accept the funding, all we will do is make sure more help is available for another county. It’s one thing to argue that such programs shouldn’t exist, but as long as it does we should accept our share since Cecil Countians contribute to the levy. Of course, we see value in these types of preservation funding streams. 

Below you will find a letter to the editor outlining our position. Since Whig letters may contain no more than 250 words, it is challenging to fully develop your points. 

For a fuller piece on the covered bridge preservation effort click on this link 

—– Letter to the Editor – Cecil Whig

A Whig editorial questioned whether the county should accept a million dollar grant to restore the Gilpin Falls Covered Bridge. In response, I say we should since county taxpayers contributed their dollars to this federal program, which will be used somewhere for preservation projects. If we do not, others will willingly use our money to restore their bridges. 

Beyond that, preservation is important. The county puts a lot of effort into marketing Cecil to tourist, relocating BRAC workers, and higher-end corporations. Our natural beauty, historical character and cultural resources are things these target groups find most appealing here. 

There is also a private partnership. Earl Simmers has worked hard to ensure that this old structure is not lost to age or neglect. Spearheading a private fund drive that has collected over $17,000 thus far, he also seeks out grants and recognition for the structure. 

Since federal restricted funds were going to be used somewhere, it was wise of the county commissioners to bring some of our tax dollars back home. I thank the commissioners who voted in favor of the grant. 

It is one thing to argue that this program should not exist, but as long as we shoulder some of the burden to fund it we should obtain our share. Finally as links to our past quickly disappear in the 21st century in Cecil, historic preservation is a worthy goal.

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4 responses to “Cecil’s Bridge to the Past: Federal Dollars Come Home to Help With Gilpin Falls Covered Bridge

  1. Pingback: Joseph George Johnson Built Covered Bridge That Stood Test of Time « Window on Cecil County's Past

  2. Pingback: Cecil County’s Bridge to the Past: Ready for a Run Through the 21st Century « Window on Cecil County's Past

  3. Pingback: Gilpin’s Falls Covered Bridge Dedication « Window on Cecil County's Past

  4. Pingback: Gilpin’s Falls Covered Bridge Dedication Slide Show « Window on Cecil County's Past

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