Santa Clara City Council employs help of local third grade students to decide name of new bridge

ST. GEORGE — Santa Clara third grade students aren’t just learning about local history, they’re contributing to it.

Along with new residential development in the city comes the need for more access getting across the Santa Clara River. Councilwoman Mary Jo Hafen said the Santa Clara City Council has been aware of the growing need for an additional bridge for some time.

When it came time to name the city’s new bridge, however, members of the Santa Clara City Council were undecided, so they opted to turn to local students.

“You don’t always have opportunities to include people – especially kids – in a meaningful way,” Hafen said. “But I think it’s really important. They’re really the ones that’ll benefit from that. They’ll remember that.”

Members of the Santa Clara City Council visited third grade classes at two different schools to talk to the students about local history, share a small replica of the bridge and present the potential names. Each third grade class held a vote between three names: Dutchman’s Crossing, Boomer’s Crossing and Sycamore Crossing.

Each name was selected because of its close ties to the city’s history.

Dutchman’s Crossing was chosen as an homage to the Swiss roots of the area; council members chose Boomer’s Crossing as a way to look back at a popular location where children used to play; and Sycamore Crossing was added to the list because of the sycamore trees that the initial settlers planted and the devastating wind storm that blew one down, killing a woman.

Stock image of sycamore tree, St. George News

The council chose third grade classes because learning local history is already part of their curriculum. Members of the council presented the names and history behind each of the names, allowing each class to vote. After the votes were tallied from all of the classes, the Arrowhead and Santa Clara Elementary School students were the first to know about the bridge’s new name: Sycamore Crossing.

“It is significant to Santa Clara,” Hafen said. “People are aware of the trees and that’s our identity.”

Although Dutchman’s Crossing received only 27 votes, the other two names were fairly close, Hafen said, with Boomer’s Crossing receiving 78 votes and Sycamore Crossing earning 84.

The bridge is expected to be complete sometime in the spring, and Hafen said the council is planning to invite all of the students who participated in the naming process to Sycamore Crossing’s dedication ceremony.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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