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No one can say Ohio didn’t ask for help

If the saying goes “that the squeaky wheel gets the grease,” President Obama can likely hear Ohio and Lawrence County squealing all the way to Washington.

Supporters say the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — also known as the $800 billion federal stimulus bill — is designed to create jobs, improve health care, fix our educational system and develop new energy sources among other things.

It certainly has the attention of states and local governments across the nation as everyone is lining up to explain why his or her project is vital.

Ohio is no different.

So far, as of March 4, more than 17,000 funding requests have been submitted.

What is the total? More than a whopping $1.7 trillion dollars. Want to know exactly? It is $1,178,971,564,257.

In Lawrence County, approximately 150 projects are on the list. What is the price tag on these? A nice round number of $53.4 million dollars

Among the lowest request was $15,000 to replace a fence at the Lawrence County Early Childhood Development Center.

Topping the list was a $25 million request to assist with the Union Rome Sewer Project. Several other sewer-related projects in the city of Ironton and elsewhere were in the double digit millions as well.

All told, these projects would create or preserve an amazing 12,000 jobs, although many of these could only be temporary.

This shows that Lawrence County’s leaders are aware of the areas in which our county government, schools and agencies must improve. And also that these officials are prepared enough to outline these needs and explain why they are so important to our individual communities.

There are too many to name or even to print a list in the newspaper. But stay tuned to the Tribune in upcoming weeks for detailed looks at what each community or agency is requesting and what this could mean to our region.

Anyone who wants to see details of what has been requested from Lawrence County can go to www.recovery.ohio.gov.

Click on the More Information tab and then click on the requested projects button halfway down the page.

Ironton has lots of irons in the fire including $21 million requested to develop the riverfront and put in a 400-boat marina.

There is a request for a $3 million community fitness center in Proctorville to help improve the health of residents.

Almost every school district is asking for money to improve education and more completely bring the 21st century into the classrooms.

Will all these get funded? Of course not but at least we are asking.

This list may ultimately just be a Lawrence County dream list but the federal government is making the banks’, car makers’ and insurance giants’ dreams come true.

Why not make some of Lawrence County’s dreams become reality?

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at mike.caldwell@irontontribune.com.