Let's find a better name for new bridge By Jerry Black Newcastle/Vermillion Bridge is not a particularly pleasing name for a bridge.
It doesn't roll right off the tongue.
It tells nothing about the communities or the people living and working nearby. Nonetheless, that's what it has been designated. Now I'm not denigrating the marvelous work that some farsighted citizens have undertaken and are seeing through to fruition, but isn't it time to find a more fitting name for this new connection?
The clock is ticking and if we don't get going on this pretty soon, how are the merchants going to produce all the paraphernalia necessary for the dedication of a landmark of this magnitude? You know, plaques, plates, posters, pens, pencils, stickers, shirts, salt and pepper shakers, stationery; well, you get the idea.
The lead-time for preparing these items is going to evaporate before we know it.
Now as to why that name. A bunch of DOT guys must have been pulling their hair, wringing their hands and losing a lot of sleep just trying to come up with such a catchy name.
Engineers do not wax poetic. Engineers appreciate simple, descriptive terms in the title blocks of drawings. It's in their nature and they can't help it.
It takes people like you and me to come up with good names for inanimate objects. Old Betsy, Big Bertha, Green Machine, Rustbucket and so on.
You may get the impression I'm being a little tongue-in-cheek and you'd be right, to a point. It seems to me that a bridge named for two communities should be in some close proximity to each community. Maps that I have consulted don't seem to indicate that Newcastle, NE is near the southern approach of the bridge. In fact, Newcastle is remote from the bridge. If necessary to maintain a geographic moniker, wouldn't Dixon/Clay Counties Bridge be more apropos?
I have a few ideas for naming the bridge and I'm sure you do too. How about Gustavus Norgren Bridge � the man who made the experimental farm north of town possible? Or, Benjamin Reifel Bridge � the first South Dakota Native American elected to Congress? Or Black Elk Bridge or Father Pierre Boucher Bridge?
It seems a lot of communities are jumping on the Lewis and Clark bandwagon and that's a possibility but hardly distinctive. I think the history buffs could come up with more names.
Don't like people names? What about landmark names such as Spirit Mound Bridge? The Great Missouri River Bridge? My current favorite is Who Needs Iowa Now Bridge.
Perhaps the school children of Newcastle and Vermillion could undertake a project to name the bridge; it would be a good lesson in civics and negotiation.
You think there should be a contest or a popular name lottery? Okay by me, so long as there are no recounts. Let's just get it done so the state and federal bureaucrats can sign off on the new name.
We need to get ahead of the curve and name the bridge before the existing designation is carved in stone or cast in bronze. Let's pick a name of which we can be proud.
Editor's note: What do you think? Should the new span across the Missouri be formally known as the Newcastle/Vermillion Bridge? Should it be called something else? What are your ideas? Share them with our readers by writing a letter to the editor, P.O. Box 256, Vermillion, SD 57069.