Ribbon-cutting ceremony with ODNR and City of Loveland was held Wednesday

By Chuck Gibson

LOVELAND, OH (May 23, 2024) – Early, under budget and beautiful are key words to describe the newly renovated and officially re-opened O’Bannon Creek Bridge on the Scenic Little Miami River Trail in the Little Miami State Park. In Loveland we just say: Loveland Bike Trail by Nisbet Park.  

Loveland Mayor Kathy Bailey addresses the crowd gathered during official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new O’Bannon Creek Bridge in Loveland (Photo Chuck Gibson)

Several dignitaries were on hand as storm clouds slipped away into a bright sunny mid-day celebration following morning thunder and rain. Loveland Mayor Kathy Bailey stepped up to the podium first with opening remarks and offering of thanks to the many involved in bringing this project to reality and completion. She made special mention of Ohio House Representative Jean Schmidt (R- Loveland) for her efforts to have the construction take place with the least inconvenience for those who use the trail and bridge regularly. Project engineer Jeremy Winters and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Mary Mertz were also cited along with others for their key role in the project.

“The bike trail means everything to Loveland. That’s why Loveland has become the city it is: because of this bike trail. What a gem to have this in our city for people to utilize. It’s just gorgeous.” – Loveland Mayor Kathy Bailey during ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new O’Bannon Creek Bridge 

Valentine Ladies Kathy Lorenz, Peggy Goodwin and Becky Giver along with Loveland City Manager David Kennedy were just some of the crowd on hand during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the O’Bannon Creek Bridge (Photo Chuck Gibson)

Mayor Bailey was not alone in representing Loveland or her praise for the bridge renovation. City Manager David Kennedy was on hand along with several members of Loveland City Council and Little Miami River Chamber Alliance President Cee Cee Collins. Several of the Loveland Valentine Ladies, including current Valentine Lady Becky Giver, Kathy Lorenz, Peggy Goodwin and others, were also on hand.

ODNR Director Mary Mertz and Loveland Mayor Kathy Bailey were joined by many partners in cutting the ribbon to officially open the newly renovated O’Bannon Creek Bridge on the Little Miami Scenic River Trail (Loveland Bike Trail) Wednesday, May 22, 2024 (Photo Chuck Gibson)

Jean Schmidt recognized and thanked members of ODNR with a presentation. Design Engineer Jeremy Winters spoke about the project and all that went into it pointing out the fact the new structure was completed early and under budget. Mary Mertz, ODNR Director echoed the excitement surrounding the reopening of the O’Bannon Creek Bridge, its beauty and the important role it plays in connecting people from all over to, not only Loveland, but to the many parks and scenic views of Ohio.

Jean Schmidt – Ohio Representative R-Loveland spoke during the O’Bannon Creek Bridge opening ceremony (Chuck Gibson)

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Mary Mertz – ODNR Director during O’Bannon Creek Bridge ceremony in Loveland (Chuck Gibson)

“This park is one of our gems,” said Mertz. “To make it accessible, more beautiful; it’s incredibly important to provide this for not only the people of Loveland, but all the people who enjoy the bike trail.”

As if on cue, a family walked across the bridge from the north followed by two cyclists while Mertz was speaking. The second cyclist rode up, stopped, looked at the crowd and declared for all to hear: “this bridge is great!” Frankly, Mary Mertz could have done a mic-drop right there and it would have been enough. Even without the mic-drop, one might say it was a perfect day to cut the ribbon and officially reopen the O’Bannon Creek Bridge on our Loveland Bike Trail on the Scenic Little Miami River in the ODNR’s Little Miami State Park.

“The bridge serves as a crossing point for cyclists, walkers, and hikers as well as a beautiful place for visitors to view the creek and the wildlife that surrounds it.” – Mary Mertz, Director ODNR

Here are some fast facts on the O’Bannon Creek Bridge project and re-opening:

  • The single span bridge is 153 feet long
  • It replaces the original double railroad structure
  • Made of steel with a concrete deck
  • Construction began in October 2023 and finished during Spring this year (2024)
  • The O’Bannon Creek Bridge was a $2.1 million project
  • $254,000 in Recreational Trail Program (RTP) Grant funds was received
  • NOTE: Partners in the project included: City of Loveland, Loveland Planning Department, Loveland Police Department, Ohio Department of Transportation District 6, and Friends of the Little Miami State Park

For more, visit the ODNR website at: ohiodnr.gov.