Newark juniors rebuild bridges in Silver Hill Park
Newark High School junior Broden Haltiner first had the idea of replacing the pedestrian bridges in Silver Hill Technology Park while on a run with the cross-country team.
The four bridges span portions of two ponds on the northwestern area of the property. They were built as part of the Sarah Coventry Jewelry headquarters during the company’s heyday in the late 1960s.
Once the largest direct sellers of costume jewelry in the world, the C.H. Stuart Co. outgrew and relocated its Sarah Coventry headquarters on Van Buren Street along the Erie Canal to a larger building south of the village on state Route 88.
Chris Davis, historian for the village of Newark and town of Arcadia, said the Stuart family transformed the former Price farmland they purchased in 1967 for its Coventry headquarters into an attractive parklike setting with walking trails through “Sarah’s Enchanted Forest,” as well as a cross-country course that NHS and other Section V athletes used for many years.
Davis said the Stuarts loved nature and wanted not only Sarah Coventry visitors — estimated to be more than 100,000 from 1969 until the early ‘80s when the company went bankrupt — but others in the community to enjoy the amenities.
Three years ago, the nonprofit Wayne Economic Development Corp., which owns and manages the vacant property in Silver Hill Technology Park, granted permission for NHS cross-country athletes to start using the course again and holding meets on the property.
Haltiner, a Boy Scout in Troop 138, decided to rebuild one of the bridges for his Eagle Scout project. Scoutmaster Jim Crawford agreed, as did fellow NHS junior and Scout Michael Oberdorf. He decided to rebuild another one of the bridges as his Eagle Scout project.
With approval of their bridge-building proposals from Bill Garman, Eagle Scout advancement chair for the Mohawk District, Haltiner and Oberdorf met with local officials to discuss the project. Newark Mayor Jonathan Taylor; Brian Pincelli, WEDC executive director and CEO; Bob Hutteman, superintendent of the Newark Department of Public Works; and Don Lasher, owner of Capstone Construction Services LLC and Capstone Real Estate Development LLC, were onboard with the idea.
Haltiner and Oberdorf finished their projects in August with help from the village and WEDC, Troop 138 Scouts, and their families and friends.
WEDC replaced deteriorated steel girders for the bridge at an approximate cost of $26,000. The village provided new concert foundations for the steel. Santelli Lumber in Palmyra donated $1,900 worth of lumber for Haltiner’s project. HEP Sales/North Main Lumber in Newark provided lumber to Oberdorf for his bridge.
“It’s great to see the pedestrian bridges back there and being used,” Taylor said. “It’s a vast improvement and a really nice addition to the park. The bridges go a long way in helping with the aesthetics of the park and provide people a peaceful place in our community to visit.”
Pincelli said the WEDC plans to install flag poles near the bridges and will continue to improve the amenities in the park.
“We’re very thankful to the boys for their hard work on this project,’’ he said. “We appreciate their interest in volunteering their time. It’s very impressive that they would tackle a project like that.”