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Mi-De-Con expansion debated

What is land in the city worth and who wants to buy it? Those were the key questions were debated Thursday night at the Ironton City Council Finance Committee meeting.

The Ironton Port Authority owns land in the South Ironton Industrial Park. Mi-De-Con, Inc., has offered to purchase roughly 3-and-a-half acres in the park near its South Third Street offices for $25,000 and expand their existing facilities with a new $150,000 building. Company officials have said they will move eight jobs from their Hanging Rock site to Ironton. Mi-De-Con’s existing site in Ironton employs six people, Finance Director Kristen Martin said.

“These are good jobs, not minimum wage ones,” Mayor Rich Blankenship said when asked to comment on the matter.

IPA Chairman Paul Woods told the Ironton City Council Finance Committee Thursday the property is worth more than $25,000 and other businesses in that area have paid as much as $19,000 or $20,000 per acre.

“We can’t just give the property away,” Woods said. Finance committee members and other city council members didn’t seem to be convinced.

“When was the last time an offer was made on that property?” Committee Chairman Mike Lutz wanted to know.

Woods said other businesses have expressed interest in that same piece of property but declined to say what other companies are interested.

“How promising (is the interest)?” Lutz asked.

Finance committee member Kevin Waldo said while eight jobs would be transferred to the city, Mi-de-con is a multi-million dollar company.

“Isn’t it true on any given day they employ as many as 300 people (elsewhere)?” Waldo wanted to know.

“I don’t know,” Woods replied.

“Is it (the property) being advertised? Is it in an ad, on a billboard?” Waldo asked.

“We’ve got plans for a billboard,”

Woods said. But then added, “That’s a good idea.” Woods said the land is being advertised on a state economic development web site.

“We’ve been dealing with this two weeks,” Blankenship said. “The city needs jobs. Anybody disagree with that? What are we doing to keep jobs here? We’ve got to reach out to them. We should bend over backwards to keep business in the city.”

Economic Development Director Bill Dickens said other properties in the industrial park, Guy’s Floor Covering and Cooke’s Farm Center, for instance, have sold for more. Waldo countered that those parcels of land have frontage on South Third Street, making them worth more than an interior plot.

“Is there potential for growth besides these (eight) jobs?” Bollinger asked.

“You bring eight jobs to the city today and then eight more tomorrow and eight more and then eight more…” Blankenship said.

Lutz asked Blankenshp to arrange a meeting between Mi-De-Con executives and city officials to discuss the property.