November 18, 2011 —
The Findlay Trail pedestrian bridge was officially opened and dedicated at a ribbon cutting Friday with a ceremony attended by two dozen despite the biting cold. The Bridge is the culmination of a trail project that has been in the works for years.
The bridge, named in honor of long-time community supporter and advocate Jim Findlay, spans the Garrison Drain and connects the two sides of the trail that runs along the former railroad bed on M-34. It was designed by Jon Moxey of Fleis and VandenBrink Engineering of Kalamazoo. Moxey said he was inspired by the city’s rich architecture and history in the design of the bridge, and that the bridge was inspired by the old stone railroad bridge across Bean Creek located behind Hudson Cinema and Bobbye’s Pizza. Its stone finish is meant to reflect the cut field stone once used in the former depot. It is built in a bowstring design, and uses weathering steel that creates a protective coating of rust on the metal finish that prevents corrosion.
At the dedication ceremony, Findlay’s daughter Mary Case, spoke about his love for the railroads and the town at the dedication, and said that he thought Hudson was just ideal for him, since it had two railroads running through it. When the railroads left town, Findlay became a historian on the railroads.
City Manager Steve Hartsel thanked everyone involved, including the Findlay family, the City Council, and the community, and went on to say, “Dozens and dozens of people worked really hard to make this idea a reality, from Brady Sand and Gravel laying down the millings for the trail for free, Belson Paving giving the city a really good rate on the paving job, to the Consumer’s Energy providing the funding for the trees, and the Department of Public Works taking the time to plant them, and Jon Moxey, who was patient and resourceful and helped with everything on the trail on his own time and his own time. We were really trying to be as frugal as possible, since the trail itself was locally funded even if the bridge was not. It was really cool to be able to have this great idea and hand it off to an engineer and have it made a reality.” He related a story of one of the contractors who built the bridge telling him that this project was the one he was most proud of in the seventeen years he had worked for SLH Contractors.
“It really makes me happy to see people using it, and that that’s what this is all about, family and fitness and making this a more beautiful town,” Hartsel concluded.
The city recently approved plans for development of a trail north from downtown to the schools along the old railroad grade.