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City park eyed for wood biomass storage

IRONTON — Ironton City Council’s penultimate session before replacing two of its current members had the city’s legislative body spending most of its time Thursday night listening and learning.

With a light agenda, council had time to field concerns and ideas from several residents and Mayor Rich Blankenship while repealing a two-year-old resolution that could open up four acres for possible economic growth.

In October 2007, council passed a resolution that took open space on Lawrence Street near U.S. 52 and dedicated it for park and recreational use for the next 25 years.

Plans for the property had the Friends of Ironton possibly using the park to host and accommodate various festivals and events. The resolution renamed the city-owned property Veteran’s Park.

Fast forward two years and Blankenship told council on Thursday that conversations he had with Friends of Ironton President Rick Jansen had the civic organization going in a different direction and not needing the property anymore.

Thus, in repealing the resolution, council now opens the door for Blankenship to possibly enter into a lease agreement with area-based Custom Tree Service to use the four-acre lot as a temporary storage facility for wood biomass products the company plans on breaking down.

That agreement, which was also on Thursday’s agenda in the form of an ordinance, was given its first reading.

Discussion was limited on that specific ordinance as council was only given the details of the proposed lease agreement with Custom Tree Service minutes before council started.

The agreement has the city extending a lease for 12 months with an option to renew for an additional 12 months at a rate of $200 per month.

All new wood materials brought to the site would require Custom Tree Service to have them removed off the site every five weeks.

Nothing was discussed in terms of insurance and liability.

In other action:

Sharon Daugherty of The Ambassador Company spoke to council about the city sponsoring a public relations program geared towards the parents of first and fourth graders within the city where books of inspiration and direction would be purchased under a two-year program at $325 annually.

The Ambassador Company is a subsidiary of Good Will Publishers, Inc., a Gastonia, N.C. — based publishing company whose content, according to their website, is reflective of their “Judeo Christian traditions” while bolstering “traditional values.”

Council did not act on the request.

Also speaking was Mike Pearson who asked council and the mayor the clean-up status of a house in the 2100 block of South Sixth Street that was torn down in June. Blankenship said the property is scheduled to be cleared during the next wave of demolitions as part of the federal grant the city received to tear down and clean up blighted residential properties.

The house in question was of particular interest to several on council as after it was torn town, two occupants of a house nearby allegedly came down with major respiratory issues. One died while another ended up in intensive care.

Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, council will next meet on Monday, Nov. 23 at 6 p.m. in council chambers.