Gateway Centre in next stage

Published 10:04 am Thursday, December 3, 2015

Hearing on grants set for Monday

Advancing the Gateway Centre to the next level starts with pouring more concrete and asphalt. But when those are laid, they bring the opportunity for jobs, a boost to the tax base, and for lovers of craft beer a chance to compare the chocolatey notes of Kitka with the tropical flavor of Black Rajah Indian Pale Ale.

There will be a public hearing on Monday, Dec. 7, at 9 a.m. at the Ironton City Center on the application to bring $750,000 in federal funding to the project.

“We would be working on street infrastructure in the way we did to support the other businesses there,” said Ralph Kline, assistant executive director of the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization.

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The applications, made for the city of Ironton, seek $500,000 from Community Development Block Grants and $250,000 from Appalachian Regional Commission funding.

“The infrastructure for the project means streets, sidewalks, parking, lighting and supporting infrastructure,” Kline said.

The immediate addition economic development leaders are eyeing is Akron area-based Brew Kettle known for homemade beers, gourmet chili, wings, pierogies, sirloin steak salad and sausage beer gumbo. The location would be the old armory at the back of the property.

“It is still in the preliminary stages,” said Dr. Bill Dingus, executive director of the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation, working in partnership with the CAO. “It is going forward, working to get all the pieces in place. Should it all work out it would be extremely beneficial for the community.”

The hearing is mandatory before any financial assistance can be offered to bring in new businesses.

“(Without the funding) the ability to recruit Kettle or any other restaurant would be challenging,” Dingus said. “(Kettle) is the top restaurant being considered (for the center). They do all of the marketing for the Cleveland Cavaliers. It is in discussion and a significant amount of work and effort has gone in to get it to this point. Just like the hotel and Frisch’s, it takes a lot of energy and time and effort.”