Depot could be reopened

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 10, 2003

A key part of Ironton's history may get a make over soon as Mayor Bob Cleary and the city are hoping to restore the former railroad depot in the city's downtown area to its past glory.

"It is a real historic showplace for Ironton," he said. "It is the first thing people see when they drive down Park Avenue. To let it set there and deteriorate any more is not an option."

Cleary said several companies have recently shown interest in putting in another restaurant in the building, but it is still too soon to make any announcements.

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"People want something they can move right into," Cleary said. "The only way we are going to get someone in there is to do some work on the building."

The city owns the building and leases it to the Greater Lawrence County Area Chamber of Commerce. The lease expires in 2004, but could be renewed because the Chamber takes care of leasing the property to a new tenant, he said.

The building was previously the Italian eatery Manzetti's Restaurant but has been closed for two or three years, the mayor said.

Cleary said the city has had more than $200,000 in Empowerment Zone funds set aside for the project for more than a year and also has an additional $30,000 earmarked in the city's budget.

The electricity was turned back on last week but much work still needs to be done, he said. The biggest hurdle is replacing the roof, but the windows and heating and air conditioning also needs to be replaced.

"Our goal is to get it structurally and physically to look like a new building on the outside," he said. "The inside will be remodeled to meet the needs of the tenant."

The roof replacement could cost between $40,000 and $60,000 and a new heating and air conditioning system could cost $12,000 to $20,000, he said.

The Lawrence County CAO will take 30 days to prepare a historical and environmental review of the building and submit it to the state before work can begin.

"It will probably be about six weeks before you will see any major work being done there," he said. "It will be another month before work would be completed."