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River Valley demolition on schedule

The demolition of the old River Valley Hospital should begin within the next couple of months, officials working on the project said this week.

The hospital, closed in January 2001, is being torn down to make way for new housing sites. Right now crews with J&L Management, of Mt. Clemens, Mich., are removing asbestos and other materials from inside the building before equipment is brought in to tear down the building.

“I’m pleased with the way the demolition is progressing,” Ironton Port Authority member Bill Dickens said. “The asbestos removal started in May and is progressing. A chemical sweep was made in early May and a video inspection of both the sanitary and storm sewers was made and completed in May.”

Dickens said the asbestos abatement should be completed by mid to late July. After that, people living in the area will see a familiar sight reduced to rubble.

“We will bring in large equipment with hydraulic claws on the front that will crush the building into pieces that can be picked up and taken to a landfill,” said Mike Garrett, contractor administrator for Burgess and Niple, consultants for the project. “At first we’ll demolish the interior of the building so the building is u-shaped, to keep the debris from blowing around. Then we will demolish the exterior walls.”

During the process, water will be sprayed on the debris and construction site to reduce dust.

Dickens said the building should be completely demolished and removed and the site graded by the first of September. The E.P.A. has six months to review the site before giving the go-ahead to any prospective builders.

“We’re proud of this project and grateful to Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital and the Clean Ohio Fund,” Dickens said.

OLBH purchased the property and later deeded it to the port authority. The IPA then received $750,000 in Clean Ohio funds to pay for the demolition.

The 5-acre site will be broken into 23 lots for houses. The houses must be upscale and built to integrate into the existing community. The IPA and the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization are partners on the project.