When the Sandy Beach Bridge opens today, the iron arch itself is not the only focal point as the “Gateway Gang” leaves its mark with customized gates at the foot of each side.
Early on in the restoration process, project leader Jim Reed created the Gateway Gang, members whose contribution focus would be to augment the bridge fund to afford special and unique gates.
“That has been his vision all along ...,” said sister Meg Reed Williams. “We knew we wanted something ‘spectacular’ that might even become a photo/destination subject ... and draw people to the lake, even if just to look.”
To that end, the gang teamed up with renowned Urbana artist Mike Major, along with committee members Rosie O’Boyle and Glenn Honeycutt, for the initial design.
“Anyone familiar with the park and harbor should recognize most of the images,” Ms. Williams related. “(Designers) tried very hard to stay true to that iconic era with the artistic representation.”
Depicted on each gate are a roller coaster, a carousel, a musical note beneath a band shell, a Ferris wheel, fish and another Indian Lake icon — the Mark Twain, the epic passenger paddle-wheeled vessel built by the late Floyd Dever of Russells Point.
Wanting a long-lasting, striking metal gateway, the group opted for stainless steel and teamed up with John Limberg of Precision Metal Fabrication of Dayton, who fabricated the arches and gates. Later, fencing will be installed from the gates to the bridge and the bridge will close nightly for safety reasons.
The Gateway Gang, along with cornerstone contributors, will be individually recognized with permanent signage at a later date.
Festivities begin at 5 p.m. today. In case of inclement weather, the event will be Sunday at 5 p.m.
Click the link below to read a related column by Examiner staff writer and Russells Point resident, Sue Pitts.