Park Avenue opens house

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 13, 2001

John Howard and Anthony Acquista returned Friday, a wistful look in their eyes as they toured the revamped building.

Sunday, May 13, 2001

John Howard and Anthony Acquista returned Friday, a wistful look in their eyes as they toured the revamped building.

Email newsletter signup

"I loaded groceries onto that landing from a boat," the 91-year-old Howard said, standing on the second floor. "I think it’s really nice to see it redone this way It’s too good of a building, too important to a little town like Ironton not to have this."

Acquista, who worked construction at South Point’s defense plant near World War II, just wanted to see his old room.

"There were more than 100 rooms then," he said. "I had 307 … I remember the view.

"It’s a real historical thing, to have a building like this, renovate it, and now it looks great."

Howard and Acquista were only two among hundreds of spectators, memory-seekers, neighbors, officials, investors and others who took part in Friday’s dedication of Park Avenue Apartments and Ironton Senior Center – the former Marting Hotel.

Mayor Bob Cleary called the new apartment complex a step forward for the city, saying the Marting had been widely known as a showplace.

"I think what we have here today is another showplace," Cleary said.

Keith Molihan, director of the CAO, emceed the dedication, calling attention to dozens of staff member, legislative leaders, bankers, experts and volunteers who made the $4.5 million project a "community" project that worked.

"We all felt that something needed to be done with this building, other than tearing it down," Molihan said. "Ironton is no different than most rural communities We believe, the CAO, city and others, the way we solve the problem is bring people down here. That’s why this project was so important to us and we wanted to see it happen and we have other ideas."

Judy Newman, representing U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland, called the work wonderful.

"Society (today) tends to be a throw away society," Mrs. Newman said. "What this community has done is work together and take a part of the history of Ironton and put it to a reuse. That is truly remarkable."

With the help of the Ohio Historical Society, Amish crafters – as well as the architect’s and contractor’s attention to detail – the building remains in its Italian Renaissance style, much as it was since its establishment in 1919.

The newly remodeled floors boasts meeting rooms, apartments with kitchens, laundry facilities on each floor, a physical fitness room, barber/beauty shop, information services, nutrition program and other amenities.

The Park Avenue Apartments Limited Partnership – public and private sector corporations – joined together several years ago to provide 50 affordable rental units to seniors 55 years of age and older in the former hotel.

The corporation was formed through joint efforts of the Ironton-Lawrence County Area Community Action Organization (CAO) and the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation (LEDC), which acted as a local project sponsor and developing partner to assist the development team in securing grants as well as providing local input into development.

Arthur Howard Winer and Associates of Marietta, acting as a managing general partner, oversaw Park Avenue Apartments’ development. Architect and general partner was George D. Berardi and his associates. The Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing (OCCH) provided both consultant services and equity investors for the complex, and will continue asset management.

The complex is managed by RLJ Management Co. Inc. of Gahanna, Ohio.

The mostly private-funded development was assisted by City of Ironton, County Commission, Ironton-Huntington Empowerment Zone and other funding.