Ellisonville Park fight continues

Published 10:22 am Friday, October 19, 2012

The Lawrence County Commissioners are reaching out to the Ohio Department of Transportation to find ways to save Ellisonville Park, slated to be demolished in less than two weeks.

The rest area has served motorists traveling from Ironton to Jackson on State Route 93 since 1939. However ODOT says the park is no longer used as it once was, its infrastructure needs renovation and the cost for that and maintenance is prohibitive.

When ODOT announced the impending closure, the commissioners placed petitions in gasoline stations and grocery stores along the highway to judge the response to closing the park.

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At its Thursday regular meeting Commission President Les Boggs said there were more than 1,000 signatures on those petitions, plus students from Rock Hill High School conducted a letter-writing campaign to stop the closure.

“It does still serve a purpose,” Boggs said. “A lot of truckers stop there and rest and that makes the roads safer. A lot of motorists stop, not only to use the restroom, but it is a good place to walk and rest and walk pets. And for family picnics. A lot of people have had family reunions there for 30, 40, 50 years.”

The commission unanimously voted to formally ask ODOT to reverse its decision.

“We would like to encourage ODOT to reconsider and try to work with the commission and the Wayne National Forest to see if we can work out an alternative plan prior to plans to demolish,” Boggs said. “I don’t doubt it costs ODOT money. But we pay out taxes down here too.”

The petitions will be included in the letter.

“I am totally against the closing,” Commissioner Freddie Hayes said. “They keep raising taxes and taking everything away.”

The commissioners also approved declaring Oct. 26 as Pink Day as part of a fundraising campaign of the employees of the Lawrence County Emergency Medical Services. The employees have been selling pink T-shirts with the proceeds going to the Joan C. Edwards Cancer Center at Cabell Huntington Hospital.

The cancer center will use the money to pay for mammograms for women who have no insurance.

“(The hospital) was so happy to hear about this,” Buddy Fry, director of the county EMS, told the commission. “They lost a grant and were sitting around thinking what they could do as a fundraiser.”

So far the LCEMS has raised $1,100 and has set a goal of $2,000.

In other action the commission:

• Received the weekly dog warden report where four dogs were euthanized; 18 were adopted and none were redeemed by owners;

• Approved a contract with Brian Pinkerman for the demolition of two structures as requested by the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization;

• Received notification that R&D Management in Aid Township is seeking a liquor license;

• Approved a change order for the construction of Symmes Township Community Building with a decrease of $4,356.