By J.M. Copeland
For Hometown News
Children are not generally encouraged to stand in the middle of the street, and certainly not with scissors, but on a damp Friday night that is exactly what Congressman John Mica asked them to do.
"I want the children over here to cut the ribbon with me," said U.S. Rep. Mica, R-Winter Park.
The ribbon being cut was a special red ribbon stretched across the south span of a small bridge on Daytona Avenue behind City Hall and the YMCA in Holly Hill. A bridge that has been under construction since February of 2011.
Crowded around the congressman children from the Boys and Girls Club of Volusia/Flagler counties laughed as an oversized pair of golden scissors were presented by Holly Hill Mayor Roy Johnson and the ribbon was cut.
Tyler Archer, wearing his Volusia/Flagler Boys and Girls club T-shirt walked the block from the YMCA to attend the event with his fellow club members and leader with one purpose in mind.
"We want to see the big old truck go over the bridge," he said.
Lined up waiting to fulfill the wish were some of the heaviest trucks the city owns, the police department Disaster Response vehicle and trailer, a fire truck, garbage truck and a new police cruiser.
"The bridge opening has been long awaited and I know it will help the police department and the fire department for rescue times," Commissioner Joe Penny said.
Safety came into question in February 2011.
Bridges are inspected every two years, according to Ron Meade, the district structures maintenance engineer from the Florida Department of Transportation.
"The northeast corner was eroding and the bridge structure was failing," he said.
Not unusual for a bridge built in 1945.
As bridges go, the span is a short one but location is everything.
"This is not the bridge to nowhere. This is the bridge that brings people to City Hall and City Hall services," said State Rep. Dwayne Taylor, D-Daytona Beach.
The ceremony also was an opportunity for Congressman Mica to give a brief civics lesson to the children, showing them how government is supposed to work and how tax dollars, including gasoline taxes, are used locally.
"This is a small bridge that links a big section of the town," The Rev. Larry Edwards said during the invocation.
"As you drive that vehicle across this bridge we hope it's strong enough to hold you," he joked.
The inaugural vehicles crossed the bridge with no problem to the cheers of the crowd, the fire truck and police cruiser's wailing sirens and horn honking from the garbage truck.
The redesigned bridge includes a sidewalk for pedestrian traffic, something Holly Hill resident Dan Mezzanotte expects to be using a lot.
"We live around the corner and this is going to be great. Now we can walk to the "Y." For the past three years we have had to drive."
When asked the reopening of the bridge was going to be important to whom, Mayor Johnson gestured toward the crowd and said, "It's important to the people right over there."