Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Bridge renaming faces uphill fight

Senators want change for 12th Street bridge

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The effort to rename a new Licking River span might turn out to be a bridge to nowhere.

        Three Northern Kentucky state senators wants the new 12th Street bridge between Newport and Covington named for the late Dr. Alvin C. Poweleit, a noted family physician from Newport and World War II hero.

[photo] Signs honoring the Girl Scouts have been put up at each end of the new bridge over the Licking River.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |
        But in December the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet named the bridge for the Licking Valley Girl Scouts.

        Three Republican senators — Katie Stine of Fort Thomas, Dick Roeding of Lakeside Park and Jack Westwood of Erlanger — say they have nothing against the Girl Scouts, but they want Dr. Poweleit to be honored.

        So they've filed a resolution that, if passed by the General Assembly — which is currently in session in Frankfort — would strip the Girl Scouts name off the bridge and replace it with Dr. Poweleit's.

        But while the lawmakers predict passage in the Senate, the resolution could have trouble getting through the House.

        During the 2000 legislative session, while the bridge was under construction and yet unnamed, Mr. Roeding filed a resolution to name the span for Dr. Poweleit. The measure passed the Senate but was never called for a vote in the House.

        The resolution could have a similar fate this time around, based on the comments of some Northern Kentucky House members. They say that while they respect Dr. Poweleit and want to honor his memory, the naming of the bridge is a done deal.

        “The Kentucky General Assembly would look absolutely foolish if we changed the name of that bridge after the signs have already been put up,” said House Majority Caucus Chairman Jim Callahan, D-Wilder.

        “We have more important things to be working on down there than this,” he said.

        Mark Pfieffer, spokesman for the Transportation Cabinet, said Tuesday the bridge was named for the Girl Scouts after the agency received endorsements from the Campbell and Kenton county fiscal courts and the Newport and Covington commissions.

        “I'm surprised anybody wants to rename the bridge in light of the input we've received from our local governments,” said Rep. Arnold Simpson, D-Covington. “The local officials are more sensitive to what the majority of people want. And for us to arbitrarily and capriciously change the name is really not a very good use of our time.”

        Mrs. Stine said she has nothing against the Girl Scouts, but that Dr. Poweleit needs to be honored in some way.

        “I was a Girl Scout. My daughter was a Girl Scout,” Mrs. Stine said. “This is something that goes back to the 2000 session. We wanted to name the bridge for Dr. Poweleit because he touched so many lives and he is a true hero.”


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