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Townsend takes seat on city port authority

With the stormwater utility and municipal fees looming on the horizon, some may say it is a gloomy time to be an Irontonian.

But don't tell that to Cecil Townsend, the newest member of the Ironton Port Authority.

"Honestly, I think that Ironton has a bright future ahead of it," Townsend said. "And I'm excited about the possibilities, especially with some of the new schools."

The Lawrence County Garage Transportation Administrator for the Ohio Department of Transportation and Ironton resident was approved to join the IPA at Thursday's Ironton City Council meeting by unanimous decision after being nominated by Mayor John Elam.

The port authority focuses on economic development and attracting businesses.

The IPA is an independent group of volunteers made up of a five-member board of directors who serve 4-year terms.

Townsend will be filling a spot left open by Walt Holbrook who, because of staggered term limits, was only slated to serve as a member of the board of directors for one year.

"I was surprised, but I feel like it's my civic duty," Townsend said. "I have a lot at stake in Ironton, my business is in Ironton, and my family is in Ironton."

Townsend said that while on the IPA, among other things, he would work to continue to fill the South Ironton Industrial Park.

Elam said that he chose Townsend in part because of the large interest he has taken in the port authority, going so far as to allow them to meet at ODOT and joining the advisory committee.

"He's been a good partner with the city in helping us with some contacts that we've needed," Elam said. "He has a lot of connections with a lot of the different state agencies."

Elam said he believes, beyond Townsend's contacts, his passion for the city will make him an excellent addition to the port authority.

"He's an Ironton resident, and he knows the mission that we're on with trying to bring businesses and industry into Ironton. I think he'll be a huge asset," Elam said. "He's proven himself to be a good man with the interests of the city at heart."

Townsend will be serving a term of 4 years set to expire in 2009.