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City, school officials plan for flooding

Ironton city and school officials have a plan in place should the city’s floodgates have to be closed.

The officials met Monday afternoon to draw up a plan in the event that the weather would necessitate closing the gates this spring.

“It takes the whole city working together to make that happen,” Mayor Rich Blankenship said.

When it floods, the first gate to be closed is the one at Storms Creek at Second Street.

Because the gate would cut off access to two of the buildings, Ironton City Schools would be canceled in the case of a flood.

“Safety is everyone’s first concern and I fully support the gates going up,” said Dean Nance, superintendent of Ironton City Schools.

In the event that the Storms Creek gate is closed, the only access to the city from the north end of town becomes McPherson Street.

The road crosses an unprotected railroad track and also U.S. 52.

“I would not put our students in that position to cross the train tracks or 52,” Nance said.

Blankenship said the route is a hazard, especially for high school students who would be driving to school.

“It’s a great inconvenience to North Ironton and it’s dangerous,” Blankenship said.

The high school students are currently attending classes in the old middle school building.

When the new building opens up this year, the floodgates will not affect the high school.

In the event that the gates have to be closed during the school day, the elementary and middle school will be closed and the students will be taken to the Conley Center until their parents can be notified.

The gates take about eight hours to be closed.

“As far as the elementary and middle school it is my opinion that we (should) keep them until the parents expect them home,” Nance said. “We frown on dismissing them early.”

The district does not want to send the young students home if no parents or guardians will be there, he said.

When the gates are closed, both the fire department and the police department keep a person or crew along with a vehicle outside the gate in case of an emergency.

Nance has offered to let the fire department use the elementary/middle school as its headquarters during that time.

“We have a partnership with the city, the fire department and the police department,” Nance said. The process of building the new school has strengthened those relationships with the city as officials have had input on designs and placement of fire hydrants in the new buildings, he said.

“I think that makes for a better city.”