Economic development projects move forward

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 27, 2003

Ironton area residents just may have two more reasons to be thankful this week.

Mayor Bob Cleary said Wednesday that he signed the agreement with Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital to bring more than 50 jobs to the city center. He said the documentation had been sent to hospital officials to sign.

Cleary said the parties involved in the deal to reopen a grocery store in the old Tipton's Foodland building have signed an agreement as well.

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"This means the project can now move forward in the form of renovation," Cleary said. "We had hoped the project would have gone more quickly, but to put it into perspective, it does take time to execute all the documents the way you need them to read. It makes me feel good to sign the final document and know that all the months of hard work that was put into it has paid off."

Cleary said he hopes renovation work can start within 60 days of the hospital signing off on the documentation, with the project completed by late spring or early summer.

Cleary praised the work of outgoing Economic Development Director Matt Ward and City Engineer Phil Biggs, who have also worked on this project.

OLBH Director for External Affairs Michael Stautberg said hospital officials received the paperwork later Wednesday afternoon and would take a look at the agreement before coming to a conclusion in the near future.

The project will be paid for largely through four grant programs totaling $473,000 , all administered by the Ohio Department of Development.

The third floor of the city center will be renovated to accommodate more than 50 OLBH administrative positions that will be moved from the hospital's Russell, Ky., location. The move should be

completed by the end of 2003.

Cleary also said the the parties involved in the deal to reopen a Foodland in the old Tipton's Foodland building signed an agreement this week.

"We've been so close and, many times, had something go wrong," Cleary said. "This is really good news for the community, because the closing hurt the whole community. One of my top priorities was to make

some kind of development out of that loss. I'm thrilled both of these projects are moving forward."

Bob Craycraft, real estate agent for Century 21 in Ashland, Ky., confirmed that the Tipton family, the investors and Super Value, which owns the Foodland name, have signed an agreement, but said he was not sure at this time if the new store will be called Foodland or will have some other name.

"It will be a Super Value location, though," Craycraft said. "But we do have an agreement in place and hope to announce the reopening of the store soon."

Craycraft said he is not sure what the investors will use as a corporate name, and declined to to identify the investors at this time.

Craycraft and city officials said last week that negotiations were underway to re open the old grocery store. Tipton's Foodland closed in February.