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Commission sets sail on ramp project

The Symmes Creek Restoration Committee has been attempting to honor one of its founding fathers, and thanks to Thursday's Lawrence County Commission meeting, they're one step closer to that goal.

For their entire 28-year history, the SCRC has attempted to promote and improve Symmes Creek. The latest step in their continuing mission is the Arthur S. Ferguson Canoe Trail, named for the scoutmaster who started the organization in 1976.

The endpoint of the trail will be at the Symmes Creek launching ramp. However, that ramp, originally built by the U.S. Corps of Engineers, is currently in disrepair and closed, a scenario that the SCRC is hoping to remedy.

In order to keep that ramp open, the group had to find someone to help them with upkeep, which committee chairman Grayson Thornton now believes they have in place.

The Wayne National Forest Service has agreed to spray the ramp down twice yearly, in fact WNF Ironton District Ranger Gloria Chrismer was even on hand to voice her support for the ramp. The Lawrence-Scioto County Solid Waste Management District will handle litter, and the Union Township trustees will provide trimming services for the ramp's lawns.

Thornton presented letters from these organizations voicing their commitment to getting the ramp reopened, which was enough for the Lawrence County Commission to submit a formal proposal to the Corps of Engineers asking that the ramp be reopened.

The creek's not figuratively out of the woods yet. The SCRC will still have to wait on approval from the Corps, which Thornton hopes will take place in the coming weeks. But he seems confident in his chances after the committee meeting, which he described as a big step forward for his organization.

"I feel that they (the commission) acted in the best interests of the county. This really has regional implications, because of people coming from West Virginia to Ohio, it's so visible," Thornton said. "So I feel like they did a very nice thing today."

In addition to approving Thornton's request, the commission also declared April 8 to be Wheelin' Sportsman Fishing Day in Lawrence County.

Also, a freeze was put on the sewer tap fee tax credit that was established in the Rome and Union Townships until the language can be clarified further.