The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

January 25, 2013

Other Views: Bridging Stan’s fans

ST. LOUIS — Back in 2011, a lot of trees were sacrificed in an hotly contested, but ultimately inconclusive, debate over what to name the new Mississippi River Bridge north of downtown St. Louis.

Then the bridge was nothing but a few footings and a lot of blueprints. Today the 435-foot pylons that will carry the cables that will support the four-lane bridge deck are dramatically visible. The bridge is expected to open next year.

So it’s time to get serious about naming this bridge. And since his death last Saturday, the answer seems more obvious than ever: the Stan Musial Bridge.

Here’s what needs to happen: Because the bridge is a joint project of the Missouri and Illinois departments of transportation, both states’ legislatures must pass bills naming the bridge, and then both governors must sign them.

The Musial Bridge — or as we already think of it, the Stan the Man Span — received much support back in 2011. In an online poll run by Post-Dispatch transportation columnist Ken Leiser, the Musial Bridge narrowly lost to the Dred Scott Bridge. Dred Scott, for those who came in late, was a slave who sued for his freedom and lost in a tragically wrong U.S. Supreme Court decision that directly led to the Civil War. We will not argue that Stan Musial is more historically significant than Dred Scott. We will note that the U.S. Park Service has devoted much of the Old St. Louis County Courthouse, where the lower court case was tried, to Scott’s memory.

Post-Dispatch columnist Bill McClellan loosely carried the torch for the Johnny B. Goode Bridge to honor Chuck Berry.

Now it’s time to act. Regardless of which side of the Mississippi they call home, St. Louisans follow the Cardinals. Stan Musial fans can be found from Springfield, Ill., to Springfield, Mo.

We would note that the late Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox, one of Musial’s contemporaries (though Williams had nearly 1,000 fewer base hits) has a tunnel under Boston Harbor named after him. Just saying.

On this we should all agree: For 60 years, Stan Musial embodied the best of St. Louis. He brought us together. So will his bridge.

St. Louis Post Dispatch

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