IPA purchases river front property

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 14, 2007

It is a strip of land along the Ironton riverfront and right now, it holds only promises. But city leaders are convinced this four-acre site is ripe with possibilities.

Friday, Ironton Port Authority leaders completed the purchase of a four-acre tract of land near the Center Street boat landing. That parcel of land is sandwiched between two plots of land the city owns and is an integral part of plans to develop a riverfront park.

“It’s a beautiful piece of land. It’s probably one of the prettiest pieces of land along the river I’ve ever seen,” Ironton Mayor John Elam said.

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“The real beauty of this is it didn’t cost the taxpayers a cent,” said Ronnie Brammer, president of the Indian Nation, which owned the land. “And the city and IPA people worked almost 17 months on this. They’re to be commended for that. I hope this can be beneficial to the city and to the community.”

Brammer said he had other offers to sell the land but chose to sell it to local leaders for the park.

Combined with the 10 acres the city already owns, the expanse for development now total 14 acres.

IPA chairman Bill Dickens said he didn’t realize until recently that the land has both commercial and recreational possibilities.

There is plenty of room not only for walking trails, green spaces, picnic areas and other recreational amenities, there is also room for perhaps a small restaurant or other commercial development that could enhance those recreational offerings.

“I didn’t truly appreciate the potential of the property until we cleared some of the vegetation and overgrowth from it,” Dickens said.

Now that the sale is completed, attention now turns to creating something city residents can use for years to come.

“This really opens up possibilities,” IPA member Cecil Townsend said. “Now we can pursue grant monies (to develop the park).”

The money to purchase the land was part of a line item in the state budget.