City looks at improving recreation

Published 10:12 am Monday, July 27, 2009

IRONTON — While most people think of economic redevelopment of something strictly relating to businesses, Mayor Rich Blankenship thinks of a bigger picture.

When he thinks about redeveloping the town, he knows that one thing cannot be overlooked: Recreational facilities.

The mayor and his administration are currently working on the skate board project, which will cost an estimated $70,000.

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“We have purchased the equipment for the park and currently are working on the actual dimensions of the park to send out for a bid on the project,” Blankenship said. “This is not just a skate park. It’s a multi-use family park.”

Blankenship said that many Ironton residents seem to go elsewhere for their recreational activities.

This cost families money in the form of gas, and economically speaking, pulls money away from the city. To prevent that, he wants somewhere local for families to enjoy.

The skate park will have new picnic tables, grills and shelters for family enjoyment as well as a repaired basketball court. The mayor said that it has a lot of potential to be a great place to visit.

“It is a park that is underutilized as it is right now,” he said.

In addition to the skate park, the administration is upgrading other parks in the area, including the Eighth Street park. Upgrades include repairing or replacing grills, picnic tables and shelters as well as replacing playground equipment.

“A lot of the equipment we moved from all of these parks is 30 to 40 years old,” he said. “All of these parks have not been updated since that time.”

The city is not alone is this venture, Blankenship said.

Friends of Ironton has also been a major player in renovating Ironton’s recreational facilities.

“We’re working closely with them,” Blankenship said.

Friends of Ironton has been helping particularly in planning a possible change to Moulten’s Field as well as developing splash park on Second Street, he said.

Besides parks, Blankenship also intends on improving the riverfront as to make it a more suitable place for recreational activities.

“This year we are extending (previous grants) through city funds to continue to correct erosion problems and to create an area that will be more accessible for fishing and viewing,” Blankenship said.

Although most plans are not on a set timeline, the mayor said that the skate park will definitely be done by next summer.