Heath will not buy a 120-foot bike-path bridge through eBay.

Heath will not buy a 120-foot bike-path bridge through eBay.

Heath auditor Keith Alexander had been looking at a bridge on a golf course near Houston. The 13-year-old bridge, listed on eBay for $30,000, would have been used for a bike-trail connection between the Heath City Water Park and the Heath Recreation & Fitness Center.

The problem is that although the city would like to buy the bridge soon, it would use state money for the bike-trail project, which is listed in the Ohio Department of Transportation's 2011 budget.

Kate Stickle, spokeswoman for ODOT, said the Heath project is in the state's 2011 budget and money that's earmarked for 2011 wouldn't be permitted for use until then.

"If they want to purchase the bridge before that (2011), we have to file for funding, and we can't be awarded for 2011 funds," she said.

The city had been working with engineers from Jobes Henderson & Associates Inc. of Heath and Patrick Henney of JCF Bridge and Concrete Inc. in Houston to determine if the bridge would work for the Heath project.

The city plans to extend the bike path by nearly a mile from the water park to the rec center, which is on the campus of the Central Ohio Aerospace and Technology Center. The project includes a bridge that would cross Ramp Creek and is expected to cost $656,000. The city is receiving 80 percent of the funding -- an estimated $485,000 -- from a transportation enhancement grant through ODOT.

"It really was a great idea," said John Groff, chief of Heath's Division of Building and Zoning.

Ron Mattox, director of transportation for Jobes Henderson, said it would have cost the city $30,000 to buy the bridge via eBay, $30,000 to transport it to Ohio and another $30,000 to refurbish it, for a total of about $90,000. He said a new bridge under warranty would cost $155,000.

"Ultimately, it would have cost the city more money to use the bridge in Houston," Mattox said.

Mattox said although the city cannot purchase the eBay bridge now and have it considered as part of the city's 20-percent match in project funding, a new bridge could be ordered in 2011, with the cost applied to the city's local match.

"I thought it was a great suggestion," Mattox said. "If the city project was not receiving any outside funding, it would have been a viable option."

Groff said the eBay bridge required some work anyway, and it would have been about two feet narrower than the bike path.

Alexander said he was disappointed that the bridge could not be purchased through eBay. He said he had made the suggestion as a way for the city and state to save money.