Port authority working hardPublished 9:26am Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Pursuant to conversations with merchants and others, it seems worthwhile to recap the activities of the Ironton Port Authority (IPA), which became active in 2005.
As a completely independent quasi— governmental body of five citizens, chartered under state statute, the purpose of the IPA is to better your lives and businesses through development efforts throughout the town.
We hope to encourage you and also to encourage you to help us when you can.
For the past seven and a half years, the economy of the country, in general, and in Ironton, in particular, has not been conducive to our efforts to bring jobs here.
We have had some successes which will be enumerated below, through dedicated effort by our volunteer (almost completely unpaid) staff.
We have had success in laying the groundwork for future growth with the aid of state and federal environmental assessment, cleanup and development grants and donations from local enterprises.
Those funds were used to assess several sites associated with past industrial use, and to clean up those found too contaminated for conventional development financing.
That was the case with the former River Valley Hospital site, the former county garage properties, and most recently, the former Tiger Metals property on South Second Street.
We deem our most important success to be the redevelopment of the downtown riverfront.
Some other accomplishments you may not be aware of are:
— Brought Aluminastic Corporation to the South Ironton Industrial Park. They have several employees and are hopeful of expanding.
— Established Bellemont Subdivision— Approximately $1 million in state cleanup funding and Ironton’s first subdivision in 40 years. Money from the sale of lots is being used to fund various Ironton development projects.
— Obtained USEPA petroleum grant of $200,000 to fund an environmental assessment of many of the city’s former industrial sites.
— Purchased the former Armory building for redevelopment.
— Obtained capital line item funding in the state budget for $150,000 to purchase the Riverfront at Etna Street. Obtained and managed a $278,000.00 Clean Ohio grant for a Phase II environmental assessment of that property. Obtained and managed a $1.5 million dollar Clean Ohio grant to clean up/prepare the property for commercial development.
— Obtained and sold the former Ironton Coke Administration Building on South Third Street.
— Playing a lead role in the redevelopment of the RONA
— Brought Swift Industries to the South Ironton Industrial Park. Recently sold additional land for that company to expand state— of— the art technical operations and hire more people at the site.
— Playing a major role in the joint effort to redevelop the Ninth and Vernon street area with a hotel, restaurants and shopping.
— Obtained a $283,000 Clean Ohio grant to environmentally assess the former Tiger Metals property. That process is ongoing.
— Developed a three part strategic plan for the redevelopment of the City of Ironton.
— Assisted in the marketing of several Ironton buildings.
— Assisted in bringing several restaurants to Ironton and played the lead role in relocating Cooke’s Farm Market and Guy›s Floor Coverings.
— Sponsor of the historical Ironton Pictorial Banners
— Played a major role in obtaining $400,000 in coal severance funding to repair the Ora Richey Road slip.
— Provided property to the Lawrence County Horseman’s Association for the conduct of numerous, frequent horse shows on vacant land at the South Ironton Industrial Park next year.
Present and past board members are myself, Bill Dickens, Joe Isaac, Tim Rist, Mike Gleichauf, Jay Zornes, Jodi Rowe Collins, Walt Holbrook, Mike Haas, Cecil Townsend, Philip Heald, and Rob Slagel.
We strongly believe this foundational work is imperative for building an improved long term future for our hometown.
Paul Woods is chairman of the Ironton Port Authority.