Mayor outlines city#8217;s needs with Wilson

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship recently met with Congressman Charlie Wilson in hopes of getting some federal funding for the city’s infrastructure needs.

Blankenship, city economic director Bill Dickens, and engineer Doug Cade met with Wilson last week in his office in Washington, D.C.

“It was a one-day trip, up and back,” Blankenship said.

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The discussion centered around several major capital improvement projects the administration would like to see: replacement of the Ironton-Russell Bridge, the separation of the sewer and wastewater lines, rehabilitation of the floodwall pumping stations, Riverfront Park revitalization, automated water meters, elevating the Second Street bridge and building a water storage tank.

Blankenship said there were in-depth conversations about the Second Street bridge and the pumping stations “due to the seriousness of those projects.”

“We prioritized the projects based on what we needed as opposed to what we needed,” Blankenship said. “Obviously, we would like to see a new riverfront but the infrastructure issues are more important.”

The mayor said he thought the meetings went well and he would find out if there were any funding sources in August or September.

“These projects have been sent to the appropriate committees,” Blankenship said, adding he wasn’t sure if there funding available or not but he had to ask.

“I feel that if we don’t go to the governor, our senator, our congressmen, more than likely we won’t get anything,” he said. “I want them to know who we are, where we are at and what our needs are. I feel it was very important to make this trip and meet with Charlie Wilson face to face.”

“Will we get anything, I don’t know,” he said. “But if we didn’t go, we wouldn’t get anything.”