BEAVER TWP., Ohio (WYTV) – Honoring the memory of former Ohio House Representative Don Manning. On Friday, a special event brought together many of his colleagues in a way they say he would have wanted.
A major bridge helping connect parts of Mahoning County has a new name, the Don Manning Memorial Bridge.
Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 191, which renames the State Route 164 bridge over Interstate 680 for the former state representative.
Manning passed away unexpectedly in March 2020.
“Today’s a celebration of a man’s legacy. It’s a celebration of all of his accomplishments that he’s done here for the area,” said State Rep. Al Cutrona.
This bridge is in Beaver Township. It’s a key component linking Columbiana with easy access to Boardman, Youngstown and even the Ohio Turnpike. It also ties in with Springfield Township, where he lived and went to school, and with North Lima, where his children went to school.
“So every time someone here in this district drives past it, drives on it, they will remember Don. They will remember the legacy that he created, that he built, and everything he cared about. Truly a man of the people,” Cutrona said.
“So I think it’s quite fitting that we’re not naming a road, we’re naming a bridge because he was a bridge-builder. He was a bridge to his people,” said State Rep. Tim Ginter.
Manning persevered with numerous election losses until finally winning and going to Columbus in 2019. State Senator Michael Rulli remembers being with him on election night when they both got turnaround wins.
“Proudest moment winning that election with him. Realizing the blue-collar Joe bag of donuts, the guy that’s forgotten by everybody, the Youngstown-Warren guy was going to be represented by Don and I,” Rulli said.
DeWine even remembered having him over for breakfast a few times.
“His passion for the Mahoning Valley was just simply unsurpassed. He cared deeply about the Valley. He was all about the Valley and he made sure the Valley was represented,” DeWine said.
Family members say Manning wanted to be the man a bridge was named after, not just have a bridge named after him.
The signs will go up soon along State Route 164.