WEST MIDDLESEX – Basking in the sun last Wednesday, Joanne Young kicked on the bright concrete to get the porch swing to go higher.
“I just love it,’’ Young said.
She wasn’t just talking about the swing in front of the Golden Bear Tavern on Main Street in West Middlesex. The swing sits at the base of the recently completed viaduct in town where the sidewalks in that area also got upgraded.
“It has a cleaner look,’’ the Beaver Falls resident said of the improvements. “It’s a nice small town that’s improving itself.’’
Most of the work constructing the new viaduct was completed last year with the landscaping and sidewalks being nearly completed this year. West Middlesex is celebrating the work of the town’s most iconic feature next weekend.
The schedule for the festivities includes:
• July 12 – At 6:30 p.m. a dedication ceremony on the viaduct with brief remarks and recognition of individuals. A presentation of plaques for the bridge will be made along with a ribbon cutting by Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Following the dedication, a walk will be led by bagpiper Ross Williams to the grass area between Garfield and Erie streets. The area will have music by Chuck Thorpe and Friends and patriotic music will be played by Tim McCall. The grassy area will also have community vendors with a fireworks show at dusk.
• July 13 – At 1 p.m., a Zem Zem Shrine parade will be held on Main Street. The parade will form at the foot of the viaduct and will move east and end at the school bus garage. Local groups and organizations have been invited to join the parade. Following the parade, activities will be held on the grass area including entertainment and activities for children such as rock painting and having fun with clowns.
• July 14 – At 1 p.m., a community picnic will be held on the grass area.
Crossing the Shenango River, the bridge carries 5,300 cars a day and is a vital artery for West Middlesex and the region. The previous bridge at the location, built in 1941, was demolished due to its poor condition to construct the new bridge.
West Middlesex resident Vicki Partridge is on the celebration committee that has been planning the event for months. The older bridge she grew up with holds good childhood memories for her.
“We used to climb the girders and go over the river,’’ Partridge said.
But the new bridge has added to the community, she said.
“It’s more attractive,’’ Partridge said. “And it’s way better lighted.’’