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Council members want input from residents

Ironton City Council member Aaron Bollinger said he would like to hear the opinion of residents before transferring a piece of city-owned property to the Lawrence County Port Authority.

“I’m not opposed to it all,” Bollinger said. “I do, however, want to urge anyone with questions or concerns to come and talk to council about it. If there are no questions or concerns, then we can go ahead and proceed.”

Lawrence County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Bill Dingus went before the city council finance committee in December requesting a deed of conveyance for the former Ironton Iron property for the purpose of economic development. Ordinance 13-91 directing Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship to execute said deed was subsequently drafted but before it could get its third reading on Thursday it was tabled with a 4-3 vote.

“I haven’t seen enough information about exactly what (the port authority) is planning to do with it,” Bob Cleary, council member, said. “I just think we need more information before we give away what I feel is one of the more premier properties in Ironton.”

Council president Kevin Waldo voted “no” along with Craig Harvey and Phillip Heald on tabling the ordinance. Waldo told Bollinger, “I think they have had plenty of time to do that.”

The meeting’s other two agenda items — ordinance 14-03 and resolution 14-02 — joined 13-91 on the table until after the next meeting of the finance committee. Originally scheduled for last Tuesday but canceled because of inclement weather, the finance committee meeting was rescheduled until after the regular meeting of council on Thursday.

Ordinance 14-03 is in regard to an engineering services agreement with E.L. Robinson and resolution 14-02 is a contract services agreement with the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization.

Ironton aLive Executive Director Jon Ferguson reviewed 2013 and forecasted 2014 to council during audience participation.

“We plan to continue the successful events we held or were a part of in 2013,” Ferguson said, “and we plan to expand those and add some in 2014.”

Planning events surrounding the opening of the Gateway Center and the premiere of Ironton native Mickey Fisher’s CBS show “Extant” are also in the works. Ferguson thanked council for appointing Cleary to its board.

Ninth Street resident Beth Ball asked council to consider installing handicapped ramps on Ninth Street’s sidewalks from Woodland Cemetery to the Campus of Ohio University Southern.

“There’s no handicapped access on that whole street except for one place at Liebert,” she said. “The ramps downtown are nice.”

Grant money was used to install the ramps in town, Blankenship said, and he said it’s not as easy as just cutting out a section of sidewalk and putting in a ramp because it has to be properly engineered.

Cleary added that anytime a street is paved installing ramps is part of the process.

Blankenship requested a meeting of the city’s industrial and commercial committee to discuss the property conveyance and the bed tax information received by council and Bollinger reiterated his urge for public comment in regard to ordinance 13-91.