BEAVER TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 191 in Beaver Township on Friday. The bill renames the State Route 164 bridge over Interstate 680 to the Don Manning Memorial Bridge.
Manning was a state representative who was serving the 59th Ohio House District when he died unexpectedly in March 2020.
His fiance said he didn’t want to have a bridge named after him, rather, he wanted to be the man a bridge was named after.
On Friday, Manning was remembered as a servant and a man who wanted to help others. He 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.
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 Springfield Township, where Manning lived and went to school, with North Lima, where his children went to school.
In fact, Manning’s soon-to-be brother-in-law was a project engineer when it was built.
His colleagues were honored to remember him.
“So every time somebody 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 that he cared about. Truly a man of the people,” said State Rep. Al Cutrona (R), who now holds Manning’s position.
“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 (R), 5th Ohio House District.
Manning was also remembered for arranging to help people get food at the start of the pandemic. The governor remembered having him over for breakfast a few times and said his passion was unsurpassed.
“He cared deeply about the [Mahoning] Valley. He was all about the Valley and he made sure that the Valley was represented,” DeWine said.
The bridge signs will soon go up along State Route 164.