• 50°

Development a good sign for city

River Valley Hospital closed its doors in January of 2001, and overnight Ironton and Lawrence County lost a piece of its history and its identity.

Now, with the prospect of Lawrence County having a new hospital closer to reality than ever before, progress at the former hospital site is being made and its demolition is expected in about two months.

It is being torn down to make way for new housing. A Michigan firm is in the process of removing asbestos. After an asbestos abatement in mid- to late-July, the structure will be razed.

“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.”

There is no questioning that the management and oversight of the former hospital was horrendous. The handling of the facility after its doors closed also left little to be desired from all parties involved.

After years of sitting empty, all the community and its leaders could do was consider it water under the bridge and progress forward as best they could.

That is exactly what has happened.

Before August ends, the structure that now stands as a symbol of failure will be torn down and will make way for new homes that will benefit the community.

It is time to move past this sad saga for Lawrence County and move toward the future.

The first step toward that is the demolition of the building.