ICC has first reading of ordinance to tear down Memorial Hall
If a group or organization doesn’t step up with a solid plan to save the crumbling Memorial Hall, the brick and debris will be removed, following three readings of a new city ordinance.
At its regular meeting Thursday, Ironton City Council had first reading of that ordinance, which once it has all three readings, will set into motion a plan to advertise for bids for the removal of all but the large stones of the structure.
The stones would remain to leave a memorial park to the historic structure, as well as a small memorial pocket park.
At a finance committee meeting prior to the council meeting, Mayor Rich Blankenship said city would continue to explore all avenues to save the structure, but if a cost-effective solution isn’t offered, the city would move forward with its intent to make the space into a park.
Council also had second reading on several ordinances, including an ordinance that would ask voters to repeal language in the city’s charter that limits mayors to two terms in office.
Under current laws, mayors can only serve two four-year terms. Blankenship was re-elected in 2011 and is serving his second and final term in office under the current laws.
Also up for a second reading were ordinances to establish a three-way stop at South Seventh and Chestnut streets, to establish rules for the safe operation of golf carts on city streets, and repealing a 2008 ordinance prohibiting the construction or use of water wells, except for commercial irrigation purposes.
The public utilities committee also met prior to the council meeting to discuss if the ordinance should be amended to include a minimum square-footage of space to be irrigated using the well water.
In other business, Kristen Martin, the city’s finance director, gave the finance committee an update on two bonds the city agreed to refinance through the Robert W. Baird & Co firm. The bonds for the city center and fire station projects were to be combined into one large piece of debt and refinanced.
Martin said the interest rates have continued to increase before the bonds could enter the market to find a buyer. She said Capitol One agreed to buy the $2,150,000 bond at a 3.4 percent interest rate.
This would save the city about $255,000 over the remaining life of the loan.
Also prior to the council meeting, the recreation committee was scheduled to meet, as called by member Dave Frazer.
But due to lack of quorum, there was no official meeting. Committee members absent were Beth Rist and Butch Huff.
Frazer openly discussed his concerns that the city’s recreation levy has yet to be filed with the board of elections.
He also commented on the overall state of the city’s parks, saying several see-saws and swings needed to be fixed, signs stating the rules need to be put up and the spray park gate needed to be fixed to keep children from being able to run into the street.