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City accepts Ro-Na theater property

The city of Ironton will get a new piece of property.

On Thursday night, the Ironton City Council passed a resolution to accept the old Ro-Na theater property, which is located on Third Street catty-cornered to the City Center.

According to the resolution, the owners of the Ro-Na — Beverly Nance, Carol Jean Destocki and Rosemary Mitchell — “desire to donate at no cost to the city” the property to be used for commercial development.

There was a bit of debate before the vote on why anyone would just give property to the city.

Councilman Frank Murphy said there was someone interested in using the property as a “small version of the Paramount theater.” He said except for the roof the building was in pretty good shape.

Bob Cleary said the city has been trying to get the property for years.

“I think if the city gets ownership of this property it will be a real asset,” he said.

Kevin Waldo was concerned about why the owners were giving up the property and he was concerned that the building would be a liability to the city.

“I’m a little leery,” he said. “Why are they just giving it to us?”

Bill Dickens, the executive director of the Ironton Port Authority, was asked by council what his thoughts on the matter were.

He said there were people interested in using the property once it is renovated.

“I know at one time Ohio University was interested in using it,” he said.

Leo Johnson said the city should take the property.

“If it costs money to clean it up, we should do it,” he said. “It will only add to downtown. Looking at the building, it is an eyesore. I do believe that someone will renovate it. I know there are people who are interested in it. If they want to give it to us, we should take it.”

In the end, the measure passed, five to one with Waldo voting no.

In early 2006, the city looked into acquiring the Ro-Na property and Doug Cade, director of operations for the Ironton branch of E.L. Robinson Engineering, told the IPA that the building seemed to be structurally in good shape although there was water damage from the leaky roof.

Dickens said that he would like to see the building turned into a movie theater again.

“It would certainly compliment downtown development,” he said. “There are grant monies available to restore it.”

He said besides the theater, there are three storefronts that could be used for businesses.

Dickens said they didn’t have any definitive ideas for the property yet.

“The first step is to get the property,” he said.

Residents of Lawrence County who want to use Ironton City water may have to pay more to connect to the system.

The City Council had a first reading on several ordinances to raise the fee to tap into the system and install a meter.

To install a 5/8-inch x 1/2-inch water tap will go from $750 to $1,000. To install a 1-inch water tap or a 1-inch water tap will go from $850 to $1,200.

To relocate a 5/8-inch x 1/2-inch” water meter will increase from $100 to $300. To relocate a 1-inch water meter will go from $160 to $360. To relocate a water meter that is over one inch will increase from $450 to $650.

The matter will have to more readings before it is voted on by the council

members.

The council also voted to adopt a resolution the Ironton Riverfront Redevelopment Plan and authorized the mayor and the Ironton Port Authority to apply for funds for the city to implement the plan.