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Loan process to start on Ironton water line project

The City of Ironton is a little closer to rehabilitating its water lines in four prioritized areas of the city.

The Ironton City Council Thursday night unanimously passed an ordinance allowing Mayor Rich Blankenship to start the loan process on the project, the construction of which will cost a total of about $1.75 million. It will cost another $175,000 for E.L. Robinson Engineering to design the project.

The ordinance was tabled at the last city council meeting so that city officials could narrow down the scope of the project. After a public utilities committee meeting Sept. 1, the ordinance was amended and priority areas for waterline replacement were established.

The following areas have been prioritized for the project: Third Street, North Ironton from Mimosa to Clark Street, Sixth Street from Ellison to Pleasant, Ora Richey Street from Echo to State Route 141,

Funding for the project will come partly from a forgivable loan from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. A grant will pay for 30 percent of the loan. The rest of the project will be paid back over 30 years at 2 percent interest.

Also at the meeting Thursday night, council heard the first reading of another ordinance to establish the intersection at South Seventh Street and Park Avenue as a three-way flashing red light.

At the Aug. 26 council meeting, council members voted down an ordinance of the same wording as the new ordinance. Councilmen Frank Murphy and Chuck O’Leary sponsored the previous ordinance. Murphy sponsored the new one.

Murphy and O’Leary have argued that since a previous council authorized the three-way flashing stop taken down from that intersection, this council should be allowed to put it back.

“The (previous) council took it out and created a safety problem,” Murphy said after the meeting. “All we’re doing is changing two plastic lenses.”

Murphy further argued that the intersection is unsafe, so much so that school buses are avoiding the area.

But Doug Cade, of E.L. Robinson Engineering, warned council that it can’t change traffic signals without cause or it will risk losing funding from the Ohio Department of Transportation. For instance, the $1.5 million for the Ironton signalization project that has been funded in full will be lost.

“We’ll lose the funding,” Cade said after the meeting. “That’s the bottom line. We’ll lose it.”

In other business, the Ironton City Council also:

Passed an ordinance allowing the sale of $10 million in sewer system revenue bonds. The proceeds of which will be used to continue the sewer line rehabilitation project currently underway in the city.

Heard the first reading of an ordinance authorizing the mayor to advertise for the lease of an old marina on Storms Creek. The ordinance currently states that the lease will be for a period not to exceed 99 years. Blankenship said he does not agree that the lease should be for that length of time.

Passed an ordinance allowing the city to vacate a portion of Jones Street. The portion will be used for residential lots that the Ironton Port Authority is developing at the site of the former Lawrence County General Hospital.

Passed an ordinance vacating a portion of Pond Alley between Pleasant and Vine Street.