Ironton’s mayor excited about ‘gamut’ of projectsPublished 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.”