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Ohio University Southern step closer to getting property

Its not a full approval, but it’s a step in the hoped-for direction.

The Ohio Emergency Management Agency has informed the Lawrence County Commission that it may be able to transfer some parcels of land on the eastern end of the county to Ohio University Southern, but additional information is needed before the transfer can get final approval.

In a letter dated Oct. 23, Steve Ferryman, mitigation branch chief for the OEMA, said the university is an “eligible applicant” under the agency’s hazard mitigation rules, but must sign an agreement stating it will abide by deed restrictions that have been in place since the county acquired the land several years ago.

The six acres were acquired by the county in a floodplain buyout program. At that time, federal and state officials stipulated that the land was never to be used for any permanent structures such as houses. The land is adjacent to Ohio University Proctorville and school officials want to either buy or lease the land and use it for walking tracks, soccer fields and other recreational offerings.

“Hopefully we can get this straightened out and move on and get it conveyed to OUS,” Commissioner Les Boggs said.

County officials sent a letter to the OEMA in August, asking what its options were regarding the six acres and whether the university could use the land if school officials promised not to build any houses on it.