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Ironton’s mayor excited about ‘gamut’ of projects

Published 11:39pm Saturday, January 1, 2011

For the City of Ironton, there’s no single project that officials will be working on in 2011.

“(We don’t have just) one thing. It’s a whole gamut so to speak,” Mayor Rich Blankenship said.

The mayor said he hopes to keep the city moving forward while being responsible with taxpayers’ money.

This year construction on the new Ironton-Russell Bridge is scheduled to begin. Bids for the project are scheduled to be accepted in early spring and construction should start in the fall.

“What I want to do is continue working with (Ohio Department of Transportation) and make sure the project stays on schedule and actually starts (this) year,” Blankenship said.

Riverfront development is also something the mayor wants to focus on. The city was recently approved for a feasibility study by the Army Corps of Engineers. The study has been 100 percent funded by the federal government and the city will have to pay for 35 percent of the construction of the riverfront project.

Blankenship hopes the city will someday use its riverfront property for recreation and businesses.

“That’s going to be a major project that we have to work through this year,” he said. The mayor also wants to finish cleaning up the Ironton Iron property with funding from Clean Ohio.

The city’s signalization is another that should start this year.

“(Construction will start) hopefully in the early spring if we get through this winter,” Blankenship said.

The $1.15 million project that has been funded by federal safety money that has been distributed by ODOT will replace six old traffic signals in the city.

The city has been working with the Safe Routes to School program for the past two years. This year Blankenship hopes that a sidewalk in the north end of town will finally be constructed.

“Nothing is easy and you have to be persistent,” he said of working with the state government.

The mayor says he is still looking into a water meter replacement project for the city. The project would replace the city’s older-model meters with electronic ones.

Ironton City Council in August passed an ordinance to start the loan process on the $1.4 million project.

The project would replace the city’s water meters with electronic meters. The city was awarded a forgivable loan of 30 percent for projects up to $7 million.

The other 70 percent of the project would be paid for with funds generated from the storm water, water and sewage fees over the next 30 years with 2 percent interest.

The mayor wants to make sure the city has the funding to handle the project, he said.

“I think it would benefit the city,” he said.

Besides the projects, the mayor said he wants to continue working with the city’s volunteer groups, which are an asset to the city, he said.

“We’re very fortunate to have the volunteers that we have for our city,” Blankenship said.

As for the economy in 2011, the mayor said the city is continuing in efforts to get businesses to locate here.

“I think Ironton is moving in the right direction but it takes a lot of work and effort on everyone’s part and that’s what were doing,” Blankenship said. “We have to look at it in a positive manner.”

  • hdm1903

    I say “THE WATER BILL IS TOO DAMN HIGH!”

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  • caglewis

    With Kasich in as Gov, our area will be lucky to get anything at all let alone a new bridge. He’ll probably try to sell our corner of the State off to WV to augment his income and pay for all the extra security precautions needed for him to maintain residednce in his own personal property since the offcicial Governor’s residence isn’t a good enough place for him to live. The Ironton-Russell bridge replacement plans started but never materiazlized under Taft. Somehow Strickland failed to advance the project. I really don’t get how a bridge design that failed to meet FAA specs [height limitations regarding the Wurtland airport take-off and landing patterns] was approved in the first place, but it was and it didn’t get built. Then it had to be exensively redesigned, and shockingly, prices had gone up so the new design didn’t meet the old budget, and it didn’t get built again. Do we really think Kasich is going to approve building it now?? There are no “fat cats” to reward /placate in our area – in fact we’re predominantly a “drain” on his budget, and my guess is, we’re [SEOH in generazl] going to be the first budget cut he makes!

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  • maniac66

    Here’s a novel idea bring in some work jobs something that can keep people here to enjoy these nice projects!
    Let’s see the city is broke so how do we do that?
    Hey let’s sell long term bonds and invest in a company seeking to move we have a little to offer here so let’s sell it.
    Like a major river to transport raw materials on,A major railroad,and access to a major highway.
    So what else do we have Land! Land! Land!
    This is a town dying from the lack of working to help it you can remodel a old movie theater fix the river band all you want.
    But until we find a way to bring in a factory or two or three all this is going to do is make it look pretty in a ghost town.
    It isn’t that hard to want to save your town is it?
    Or maybe it is if you don’t truly care for your town as a elected official.

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  • Justme

    Same old &$#& different year. How can the Mayor take credit for the new bridge?

    (Report comment)

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