Blooming Bridge expanding, thanks to added support

Published 6:34 pm Thursday, July 1, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Due to continued financial support from the community, the Blooming Bridge project continues to roll on with 30 additional planters to be added to Main Street Bridge this week.
Todd Wakevainen, a member of the Main Street Promotions Committee and a volunteer with the bridge project, said people have kept sending in money to sponsor the planters, so they decided to add more to the bridge.
The 30 new planters will be added to the available spaces on the bridge and make a total of 102 planters.
There is room for a total of 139 planters along the bridge, but Wakevainen said this addition will be the last of the summer.
Gloria Cooper, who is also on the promotions committee and a volunteer with the bridge project, said they would be happy to offer the support and advice to another group or community if they wanted to do a similar project.
The Blooming Bridge project is being sponsored by God's Green Earth and Baker's Needle.
Earlier this this week, Wakevainen, Cooper, Greg Baker, owner of Baker's Needle, and his son Andrew gathered in the back room of the Downtown Development Authority/Main Street office to construct the new planters out of large PVC pipes.
The Bakers were also key volunteers with the first run of planters, which took place in late May.
Baker is glad to help out with a project that he feels will add to the aesthetic quality of downtown Niles.
If people want to change things for the better, the best way to do that is to get involved and volunteer your time to make a change, Baker said.
Enlisted by his dad, Andrew, 15, has been a dedicated worker with the project since the beginning and has grown to like being a part of it.
He said driving across the bridge has made his work with the project a rewarding experience.
Wakevainen said working with volunteers like the Bakers and the many others who have put time and effort into this project have made it a true success.
He sees the Blooming Bridge as a revival toward Niles' old nickname of the Garden City.