Center Street Landing to close soon

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Construction will cause Center Street Landing to close soon until next year, but it is vandalism that may keep the area closed at night indefinitely.

To allow for the much-anticipated Center Street Landing floodgate improvement project, the entrance will be closed within the next two weeks and will not reopen for at least 120 days, likely at least January, said City Engineer Philip Biggs.

In the planning stages for nearly four years, the single-lane entrance will be reconfigured to allow for a direct,

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two-lane entrance without the sharp turn that makes for a dangerous crossing, Biggs said.

"It will be a big improvement. The Rail Commission bought into it straight out of the box. The mayor did not have to do much arm twisting," Biggs said, adding that a clear view to the river will also be beneficial to downtown. "They listed it on their Web site as one of the worst crossings."

Signs and curbs will be added around the entrance. Part of the floodwall will be removed and the gate structure will be replaced with aluminum.

Bids for the project will be opened today. If the project exceeds the $400,00 project estimate, it will have to be rebid for the third time.

Originally scheduled to begin in 2002, the project was delayed numerous times as not enough funding was available, the cost escalated and all the necessary permits were obtained, Biggs said.

Including the design and geotechnical work that has already been completed, the total project cost is approximately $420,000

The Huntington-Ironton Empowerment Zone has allocated $181,000, ODNR's Waterway Safety Fund has appropriated $168,000 and the Ohio Rail Commission committed $75,000, Biggs said.

Vandalism and littering has become a more recent problem. Mayor John Elam said that the area will be closed after dark until further notice.

"It is going to be my intent to close the park at dusk and reopen it at dawn," Elam said. "If individuals need a key or access to the boat ramp, they can go to the police station."

"We want to try and maintain a clean city and have noticed that a lot of trash is occurring at the riverfront. We ask the people to help us in our attempt to keep Ironton clean."