ODOT gives old garage to commission

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2005

A deal in the hand and several more in the bush.

That turn on the old saying could describe the Lawrence County Commission Thursday as the group formally accepted the state's donation of property and applied for money for area projects.

The Ohio Department of Transportation Thursday officially signed off on the deal to donate its old garage on South Sixth Street to Lawrence County. A resolution from the Lawrence County Commission accepting the 4.1 acres of property sealed the transfer.

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"I think it will be well used," Commissioner Doug Malone said of the old state garage.

This will allow the Lawrence County Engineer's Office to move the county's road garage to larger facilities in a less congested neighborhood.

"We do appreciate all that ODOT does," Commissioner Jason Stephens said. "I know we fuss a little bit but we do appreciate you."

The commission also approved submission of an application for $500,000

Community Development Block Grant monies to assist in the development of part of the planned RiverWalk project in Union Township. If the proposal gets approval, the money would be used for off-site improvements such as roadway upgrades.

"We should hear something (about whether the grant application is approved) within 30 days," Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization Assistant Director Ralph Kline said. "The state has seen a lot of this already. This would focus on the nursing home and the assisted living part of it. … Although its competitive, I feel the application is pretty strong."

Kline said this

grant can be used as matching funds for other grants local leaders will seek to pay for the multi-million marina/retirement community/ retail complex. Kline said he is awaiting news on whether the county's request for state Industrial Site Development monies will also get approval.

Kline stressed that the nursing home/assisted living portion of the proposed project has the potential to create 55 jobs, ranging in wage from $6.50 an hour up to $22 an hour. "There are a lot of nursing jobs, LPNs, that type thing," he said.

If the county's application is approved, Kline said work could start on this project as early as this fall.

Following the commission meeting, the Lawrence County Tobacco Settlement committee approved an application for a Southern Ohio Agricultural grant to pay for a set of industrial scales at the planned Rumpke Recycling facility. Kline said local leaders should learn within 30 days if this application is approved or denied.

Commissioner George Patterson said the recycling facility is badly needed in the county. "The state has mandated certain solid waste issues that have to be accomplished and this helps solve some of our problems," Patterson said of the planned recycling facility."

Kline said the recycling facility would create as many as 41 jobs with an average wage of $12 an hour. The scales could be used by other entities as well as Rumpke.

The Rumpke project has a total price tag of $3.4 million. The rest of the cost of the project will hopefully come from additional grants as well as private investment.