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Projects abound in Ironton

Many things — big and small — happening around town

 

While battling water leaks and trying to adopt a budget for 2014 seem to be the more publicized goings on in the City of Ironton, plans for many other projects also continue to develop.

 

Downtown banners

When banners depicting famous Irontonians were taken down in order to erect new light poles downtown, some residents questioned when and where they would be re-displayed.

“We are putting them back up, but not until spring,” Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship, said. “It’s my personal opinion that we don’t put them back where they were because of the new poles.”

In the past, Blankenship has requested public input on where to display the banners, but said he has received “very few” phone recalls in regard to the matter.

“One suggestion (the city) got was to put the banners of famous Ironton sports figures at or around the high school,” he said. “The banners are important to the city and I still urge anyone who has a suggestion to call my office.”

 

Railroad quiet zone

Train whistles blowing around-the-clock has created the push for parts of Ironton to become a “Railroad Quiet Zone.”

Ironton City Council member Bob Cleary expressed his discontent with the whistles during a recent council meeting and at that time it was thought paying the railroad the required fee would create a quiet zone. As Blankenship moved that project, forward, however, he discovered it was much more difficult than anticipated.

“I am now dealing with the fourth different person at the Federal Railroad Association (FRA),” Blankenship said. “I’ve spoken to people in Atlanta, Ga., and Columbus and still can’t get the answers I need. It’s a long process anytime we have to deal with the railroad.”

There is a possibility of getting granted a waiver from the FRA, Blankenship said, but that may create yet another roadblock.

“Getting a waiver still may entail the city being responsible for the construction of gates and lights that we would have to pay for,” he said. “The crossing at McPherson is an unusual crossing because it’s not 24/7. It’s only used during emergencies, so we would have to pay around a million dollars for the lights and gates to be constructed and we simply can’t do that.

“There are some different avenues we can take toward getting a waiver for McPherson anyway and hopefully I will know something more in the near future. We have to follow federal guidelines regardless.”

Getting a quiet zone created between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. at the railroad crossings at Center and Pine streets is something else being explored, which are already equipped with lights and gates.