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Bill Passes for Memorial Highways, Women Veterans Bridge

December 15, 2017

COLUMBUS, Ohio — State Reps. John Boccieri, D-Poland, and Michele Lepore-Hagan, D-Youngstown, announce that a number of bills to create memorial highways for Mahoning Valley icons and a bridge in honor of women veterans unanimously passed the Ohio House of Representatives.

The bill will create a memorial highway along U.S. Route 422 for Harry Meshel, designate part of Interstate 680 outside of Youngstown State University as “Frank Watson Memorial Highway,” and name the Austintown bridge on Mahoning Avenue and state Route 11 the “Women Veterans Bridge.”

Meshel’s political career began in 1964 when he was named administrative assistant to Mayor Anthony B. Flask. He won elective office in 1970 as a Democrat for a seat in the Ohio Senate. He served until 1993, rising to president of the Senate. Later he was elected chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party. The last office he held was member of the Youngstown State University Board of Trustees.

Watson served in the US Navy during World War II. He became the president of the Youngstown Welding and Engineering Co., a post he held from 1959 to 1988.

“I’m glad to see that the legislature has moved to honor the accomplishments of Harry Meshel and Frank Watson, two individuals who played such significant roles in spurring economic and educational growth in the Valley,” Boccieri said. “And, separately, the fact that Mahoning County can now mark its appreciation for the contributions women have made in our nation’s conflicts shows that their commitment to service will never be forgotten.”

The Women Veterans Bridge in Austintown will be only the second in the state honoring female veterans.

“The commitment, leadership and sacrifice demonstrated by the late Harry Meshel and Frank Watson, as well as women’s veterans have truly benefited the residents of Mahoning Valley,” said Lepore-Hagan. “These memorials are humble testaments to our appreciation for them.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.