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Hospital site to be subject of meeting

The Ironton Port Authority will have a public meeting on Sept. 13 to discuss what is being done with the old hospital property.

Earlier this year, the IPA and its partner, Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization got a $750,000 Clean Ohio assistance grant to redevelop Ironton’s former River Valley Hospital property into family homes.

The meeting will cover the asbestos abatement and demolition.

“We would particularly like to have the neighborhood residents attend, so we can provide them with a timeline,” said Bill Dickens, the IPA chairman. He added that the project is progressing nicely, but projects like this take time.

He said the asbestos abatement would begin in late November or early December and actual demolition would start in late January.

The 5-acre site, once it is cleaned up, would be turned into 23 lots for houses. Dickens said the houses would, by contract, have to fit certain requirements, such as being for a single family and to blend in with the neighborhood.

“Also, if you buy a lot, a house has to be built within a certain timeframe,” Dickens said. He expects the lots to be available sometime in the spring or early summer. The site has to be given a clean bill of health by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

“We also have to do landscaping so we have proper drainage,” Dickens said.

Curbs, sidewalk and roadway access will be changed from a work setting to a residential one.

The hospital was built in 1939 and closed in 2001 after it accumulated $18 million in debt and left it unable to continue operations. In September 2002, Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital purchased the building located at 2228 S. Ninth St. for $5 million and expressed intentions of opening a hospital, but those plans later changed because of the building conditions and other factors.

The hospital has partnered with the IPA and the Ironton-Lawrence County CAO to redevelop the site. OLBH has already spent more than $50,000 to initiate environmental site assessments.

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Sept. 13 in the main lobby of the Ironton City Center.