The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

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Opinion

August 6, 2010

Value of preservation

Your recent editorial comment concerning Union County's historic Millmont Red Covered Bridge concludes with the thought: "So they muse about the historical engineering design, while taxpayers may fume over another example of inefficient, bureaucratic government in very ponderous action."

Correcting what we commissioners said, this particular project is not costing between two and three million dollars. Actual bid and current construction costs now have shaved $295,000 off the originally estimated $1,650,000 Red Bridge restoration. There are no county tax dollars involved in this project as it is 100 percent federally funded with federal tax dollars set aside for historic bridge updating and restoration.

In my 11 years as a Union County Commissioner, I have never heard a resident begrudge a tax dollar of investment for the restoration of a historic covered bridge in our county. The Millmont Red Covered Bridge, listed in 1980 on the National Register of Historic Places, also holds a special place in the hearts of lifelong county residents and even our county's recently adopted Comprehensive Plan speaks to the value of its preservation along with the county's four other covered bridges supporting Pennsylvania's second industry...tourism.

While I have been recently quoted about the greenness of the preservation of old bubbled window glass at the county courthouse, I must declare my unequivocal commitment to the value of historic preservation. I would not want an editorial based on erroneous information to influence other Susquehanna Valley local officials to sell short preserving this valley's legacy for later generations. For if we cannot preserve this bridge to the past, how will we ever foresee our travels into the future.

John Showers

New Berlin

n John Showers is a Union County Commissioner.

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