ODOT to start on new garage

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 10, 2003

The seed of growth will go into the ground Thursday.

When the Ohio Department of Transportation breaks ground on a new garage in the 40-acre South Ironton Industrial Park Thursday, it will be like planting a seed that will help the whole park grow, Mayor Bob Cleary said.

ODOT will host a public ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Thursday on the 8.65-acre site inside the industrial park on South Third Street that will become home to a new Lawrence County Highway Maintenance Facility.

Email newsletter signup

Cleary said the ground-breaking is very important to the city's future and is another sign that the the city is heading in the right direction.

"We are real excited that we will finally see construction start in the industrial park," Cleary said. "Hopefully, the residents will come out. This is an event that is very significant to Ironton because it is the first new tenant in the park."

Once ODOT is in the park, other tenants should fall into place soon and bring more jobs to the community, he said.

ODOT officials are equally excited about the prospects of having a brand new facility.

"Certainly, we're excited about this project, and we're pleased that we will be able to keep the facility within the city of Ironton," said Kathleen Fuller, public information officer for ODOT, District 9.

"The project has been in the pipeline for some time now, and construction of a new maintenance facility should prove beneficial to the daily routine of our employees, thereby benefiting all of Lawrence County and the people we serve," she said.

While ODOT does not plan on adding any jobs at this time, it will allow the agency to have keep the garage at a full staff of 28, Fuller said.

ODOT finalized the $258,000 land purchase earlier this year to build a replacement garage for the existing building that is at least 50 years old.

The $3.25 million project will construct an entirely new facility that will include a 22,600 square foot building, a 2,800 square foot mixing shed, a 3,200 square foot equipment shed, a salt dome and other storage units.

Contractors have been chosen for the project. Actual construction is scheduled to begin early this fall and be completed in August 2004.

J & H Reinforcing and Structural Erectors Inc. of Portsmouth was awarded the general construction contract for $2.4 million. L & L Electric of Proctorville was awarded a $295,535 contract for electrical work. Ferguson Brothers Co., of Huntington, W.Va., was awarded a $521,190 contract for plumbing and heating/air conditioning work.

During the construction process, the existing facility at 3001 S. Sixth St. will continue to operate as normal.

"Following construction, there should be a significant impact to the mechanical and technical operations of the department," Fuller said. "By replacing the antiquated system, the new facility will provide a more adequate space and improved system for equipment and employees. "

Once ODOT is moved out, the city will have the first option to purchase their existing facility. The Lawrence Economic Development Corporation, which owns must of the block, has shown some interest in the property as well, Cleary said.

The city will continue installing the water, electric, gas and other infrastructure such as street lights throughout the fall and spring, the mayor said.

Cleary said the hope is that the street through the park will be open to the public by early summer. This will help redirect the heavy traffic away from the residential areas along Lorain Street.

City officials worked for more than three years to purchase the former Allied Signal property, and the deal was finalized in August. The city purchased the property for $375,000. Two state grants made up approximately $225,000 of that with the city borrowing the rest. That loan was paid off after the ODOT purchase was finalized, Cleary said.

The site could easily accommodate more than 1,200 jobs if developed properly, Cleary has said in the past.