City working on revitalization of former Intermet property

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The long-vacant former home of Ironton Iron and Dayton Malleable may finally be on the road to rebirth, if Thursday night's Ironton City Council meeting was any indication.

The one delivering the good news was David Schmitt, an attorney with Cors & Bassett, LLC a Cincinnati-based law firm, which has been negotiating a deal to purchase the 20-acre piece of property for the city from now-bankrupt Intermet, its current owner.

Schmitt is attempting to get grant money that would allow SRW Environmental Services Inc., a Cincinnati-area environmental engineering and consulting firm, to conduct a site assessment to see if other funds could be used to clean the site if the city purchased it.

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The two had some difficulty in obtaining environmental information on the South Third Street site, largely because Intermet's bankruptcy proceedings kept the information tied up in legal red tape.

Once Schmitt was able to look the data over though, he and SRW President Mark Rhinehart liked what they saw.

"There is some damage to the site, and that's to be expected because it's been a foundry for a hundred years almost," Schmitt said. "But there's nothing in that information provided to us by Intermet that gives us any reason to think this project can not move forward."

Schmitt had been in contact with legal representation of Intermet, who may be turning the 20-acre property over to Ironton for free.

"They have given us indication that if we can do the work and give them some comfort that the Ohio EPA isn't going to turn around and hand them a bill for $750,000 or whatever the cleanup's going to cost that they will give this property to the city," Schmitt said.

Schmitt seemed to have little doubt that the city would be able to secure money for the first couple of phases of the project from the $50 million dollar Clean Ohio fund from The Ohio Department of Development that is set aside to revitalize former industrial sites.

"You can never say with certainty, but they are pretty confident that our grant application will be looked on favorably," Schmitt said.

In other business in the meeting, during which only Council Chairman Jim Tordiff was absent, councilmen decided against a vote on an ordinance authorizing the mayor to award the contract for a tennis court restoration project.

Though they were slated to vote on the ordinance, it was delayed when they were informed by city engineer Phil Biggs that they were not in an emergency situation and could look over the proposal until the next council meeting.

The low bid for the contract was submitted by R-B Sealing-Striping, LLC for a total of $16,077. When the cost of materials was figured in, the grand total for the project is $20,600, paid for through grant funding.

The ordinance was sponsored by Councilmen Jesse Roberts and Brent Pyles.

Roberts also put forth motions of support for SRW and Cors & Bassett's efforts, as well as a motion to approve Cecil Townsend as a member of the board of directors of the Ironton Port Authority. Both passed unanimously.