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Work begins on riverfront path

One of the City of Ironton’s Riverfront Development project’s four phases is underway — a shared walking and bike trail that stretches from Second Street at Storms Creek to the old marina area.

“It’s just a part of the whole,” Blankenship said. “People often ask ‘Why trails?’ and I tell them trails are vital to improving our riverfront and using it as a recreational area and enhancing it in preparation for future development.”

The section at Second Street and Storms Creek currently being bulldozed, which was once a hot spot for illegal dumping, will become a picnic area overlooking the river.

The original anticipated completion date of Phase I was the end of 2013, but Blankenship requested, and was granted, an extension because of the seasonal closings of the asphalt plants.

Four grants are in place for the overall project and the bicycle and walking trail is progressing because of $100,000 in grant money administered through the Ohio Department of Natural Resource’s (ODNR) NatureWorks program.

“All of our grants are working together in order to reach our objective,” Blankenship said. “A key component of any project is having the grants in place, and even then these things take time.”

Of the four grants, two are through ODNR. One is a Clean Ohio Trail grant and the other is through the United States Department of Fish and Wildlife. Blankenship said another grant application has been submitted to ODNR.

“A $208,000 match has been appropriated by the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation (LEDC),” he said. “Getting 100 percent of the money is rare when the amount is large. We can and will offer in-kind matches of labor and things like that as well.”