Grant Secured for Great Stone Viaduct Project in Bellaire

File Photo Bellaire’s Great Stone Viaduct Society has been approved for a $1.9 million Ohio Department of Transportation grant to transform the historic structure into the centerpiece of a new park, although about $350,000 in local matching funds will need to be raised.

After years of planning, the dream to preserve Bellaire’s Great Stone Viaduct and transform the historic structure into a park may become reality, now that the project has been approved for a $1.9 million grant through the Ohio Department of Transportation.

However, the use of the grant requires a 5-percent local match, or almost $100,000, and site development costs such as grading and cleaning, estimated at $250,000. This means local funds of about $350,000 must be raised before the grant can be accessed.

The $1.9 million ODOT Transportation Alternatives Program Construction Grant, as well as an award of $5,000 from the Tom E. Dailey Foundation in Chicago, were announced Tuesday during the Great Stone Viaduct Historical Education Society’s third-annual All-American Banquet fundraiser.

Viaduct society Chairman Paul Cramer outlined the planned project, which has been a goal since the society obtained ownership of the viaduct in 2015. Officials hope the $1.9 million grant will be enough to complete the first phase of the project.

“It will include a visitor center, parking, walking and bicycling trails, an elevated walkway spanning 20 stone arches, and an observation deck at the end,” Cramer said. “Phase II of our project will need to be funded next and will continue the walking/bike trail along the railroad bed to 26th Street.”

Cramer commended the society’s board of trustees for their time and effort. He also thanked the local community and businesses for their financial support and urged them to continue that support.

“We need your help. … I’m hopeful that the project can be completed in its entirety by the year 2021. This is the year that will celebrate our 150th anniversary from the construction of the Great Stone Viaduct … ,” he said. “I’m hoping you can locate some funds to try and get this project going. I don’t want to leave the $1.9 million on the table.”

In addition, Cramer announced the viaduct will be featured in the 2017 “Visit Ohio’s Historic Bridges” brochure published by the Ohio Bridge Association and ODOT.

“The Great Stone Viaduct is one of only six historic bridges featured in the interior of the brochure, which is pretty amazing,” Cramer said.

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