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Aluminastic Corp. expanding to South Point

Thursday’s Ironton City Council meeting had a light agenda, but some community development leaders gave updates on key projects and other happenings.

Ironton Economic Development Director Bill Dickens announced that Aluminastic Corp. will be expanding a large production facility to a former industrial site in South Point.

Dickens said the company needed more space to produce wave guides — devices for microwaves and telecommunications equipment. Dickens, who did not want to specify the location, said consideration was given to expanding Aluminastic’s Ironton facility for the expansion or finding another location in the city, but said expansion was not going to be practical in the time frame the company needed. He said the company needs the operation for the wave guides ready by the first of the year.

Dickens’ announcement was met with noticeable disappointment from council members.

“I would again like to congratulate South Point,” Councilman Mike Lutz said. “I’m disappointed that Aluminastic was unable to meet the expectations of employment growth in Ironton.”

The company’s research and development operations will remain in Ironton.

Dickens also said he expected an announcement within six months on an Ironton hotel project. He also said there is “a lead” on a manufacturing company that might be interested in the old Ironton Iron site. He said if it comes to fruition about 50 or so jobs would be created, but that would be about four years from becoming a reality.

Ralph Kline, community development director for the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization, also addressed council and discussed the efforts to build an assisted living facility at the old St. Lawrence school on Center and 7th streets.

He said plans have been delayed and that resulted in the city losing a grant that expired, although he said the city could re-apply for the grant. He said the delays were partly because of the historic significance of the building and the specifications that must be met for its renovation.

Kline also said the Ironton Downtown Development project is progressing as expected.

Kline said both principal aspects of the plan – design improvements and public infrastructure – are expected to be completed by 2010.

Brett Thomas, the director of the city’s recreation department, also gave council a report. It included a yearly summary, an outlined plan for 2009, an explanation of donations to the department and his comments.

He said there is need for upgrades to equipment at the Etna Street Park, including playground equipment that is expected to be taken down because of potential liability issues for the city.

Thomas also said he would like to see $7,500 dedicated to a city fireworks show on or around the 4th of July. He said various cities in the region put them on and that he would like to city do so as well.

Lutz, however, said there are more pressing issues for the recreation department.

“I don’t think fireworks should be our top priority,” he said. “Our priority needs to be creating safe parks. I really want the recreation department, with its limited (funds), to focus on day-to-day activities for children.”

In other news:

Council suspended the rules and unanimously passed an ordinance to amend the operating budget.

Council gave second reading to the ordinance to enter a consent decree with the U.S. EPA and the Ohio EPA for a 17-year plan to separate the city’s combined sewer system.