by Sue Serdinak
Hikers on the Secret Falls Trail in the Richfield Heritage Preserve may have noticed a new 32-foot bridge crossing the stream. Judging by the size and structure of the bridge, it would appear to have been professionally built. Instead, a Boy Scout from Troop 652 in Brecksville, Alex Christian, built the bridge for his Eagle Scout project.
The old bridge had to be removed and the concrete supports evaluated before the project could proceed, requiring the popular trail to be closed to hikers.
Richfield Joint Recreation District Volunteer Coordinator Susan Czaplicki scheduled the project and board member Jeff DeLuca, and Park Director David Green worked with Christian to explain the extent of work needed. They advised him materials would need to be carried in by hand because the bridge is at the bottom of a hill with no road access.
The wood supports of the old bridge had to be replaced and new wooden treads, rails and steps cut and installed.
It was an intensive project completed in about a month. The Independence High School senior had to schedule and manage all of the people who helped, including his fellow troop members, his parents Ben and Irene Christian, and other family members. He paid for the materials with donations including $250 from Cleveland Lumber. ∞