Debate Continues On What To Name The New Mississippi River Bridge
BELLEVILLE, IL (KPLR) – Naming the new Mississippi River Bridge has caused some controversy. Some want to name the new span after a fallen MODOT worker, and some want it to honor Stan the Man. On Monday night in St. Clair County, county board members unanimously passed a resolution to name the new bridge The Veterans’ Bridge.
St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern says this name was the plan from the beginning: “Before the bridge location was even finalized, we all believed that this was going to become the Veterans’ Bridge, so this really is the culmination of years of thought.”
But how much say does St. Clair County actually have? The two states have to mutually agree on the name, but since the bridge lands in St. Clair County, Kern hopes the resolution will show Illinois lawmakers that St. Clair County, and the state, should have a strong voice.
“Illinois, after all, put more money into this bridge than anybody, and so we think Illinois should have a say in the process,” he explains.
Lawmakers on both sides of the Mississippi are having a say in the process. U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Claire McCaskill proposed legislation to name the structure the Stan Musial Memorial Bridge.
In a statement, Senator McCaskill says, “Stan Musial found a way to be an even better man and community member than he was a baseball player…He brought so much to St. Louis. I’m happy to find a small way to honor him and his family.”
The Missouri State Senate has also endorsed a bill naming the bridge after Stan the Man.
Still, Vietnam Veteran and St. Clair County Board Member Ken Easterly feels naming the bridge after vets would be a way to honor so many more. He says, “It would be nice to honor the veterans and we don’t have that veterans’ bridge anymore. So I say, let’s do it.”