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13 years later, Millennium Park bridge named after its creator

Parks and Recreation has dedicated a sign to Stewart McDermott to go on the covered bridge in Millennium Park.

Parks and Recreation Director John Drake said that back when Millennium Park was built, the covered bridge was not in the original master plan. Instead, the plan was for a wrought iron bridge, which would have cost around $70,000.

Looking back, Drake said he remembered having a conversation with Stewart, who was equipment manager for public works at the time. Stewart had a sketch of a covered bridge, which led to other conversations and the idea of putting a covered bridge in Millennium Park.

“Before you knew it, we changed our $70,000 wrought iron bridge into a covered bridge designed in-house, built in-house for less than $8,000,” he said.

Drake said the bridge and the pond around the bridge are very popular as several people utilize it as a backdrop for pictures for events like homecoming, prom, senior pictures and weddings.

“About a year ago, the park board decided that we needed to put a name to the covered bridge,” he said. “They voted to do that, and then we walked through about 14 different hoops to get to where we are today.”

The name they settled on is the Stewart McDermott Covered Bridge. A sign was made in honor of McDermott and placed on the bridge.

Magistrates Jack Hendricks and Phil Sammons, who are county representatives on the Parks and Recreation Ad Hoc Committee, unveiled the sign Tuesday and presented it to McDermott.

“I had the honor of being a magistrate when (McDermott) designed this,” Sammons said. “The highlight of my career as a magistrate has been knowing this gentleman. He’s one of the finest people I’ve ever met.”