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Saving IR Bridge still top priority for resident

Ever since construction began on the new Ironton-Russell Bridge, saving the old bridge from demolition has been a mission for Ironton resident Elle Dew.

For the second time, Dew spoke to Ironton City Council on Thursday evening about her continuing efforts to save the bridge for its historical significance. Dew previously started an online petition to save the bridge, which has garnered more than 1,000 signatures, and other paper petitions are out gaining more support. She plans to get a 501c3 nonprofit to be able to receive grants and funding for preservation.

“I want to use the (Lawrence County) Historical Society 501c3, but if I can’t get it from them, I’ll apply for my own,” she said.

Getting Kentucky involved in the saving efforts is another goal of hers.

Dew handed each member of council a copy of her research paper on the bridge that she completed for a class at Ohio University Southern. The paper, which talks about the bridge’s history, significance and impact using every source she said she could find, is what originally ramped up her desire to save the bridge and take action.

Also at council:

Former Ironton Building Code Enforcement Officer John David Willis approached council about pay he said he is owed, but won’t receive. Willis was terminated from his position on Dec. 1 and said he was told he would be paid out, including his sick time of 410 hours. Now, due to a rule in the Ironton city employee handbook saying only retirees or employees of 10 years or more receive that money, he won’t get paid out. That rule follows the Ohio Revised Code. Council informed Willis that it was beyond what it can do, but to seek a legal opinion and go from there.

Ironton Finance Director Kristen Martin informed council that she wanted to start setting up meetings for the department heads for the purpose of the budget before its March deadline.

The first reading was given of Ordinance 16-03, authorizing the mayor to enter into a contract for health insurance coverage for the employees of the city of Ironton and declaring an emergency.

Resolution 16-01, for authorization to apply for NatureWorks funding; Resolution 16-02, authorizing the mayor to apply for and administer the Ironton Riverfront Cooperative Boating Facilities Grant with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Watercraft and declaring an emergency; and Resolution 16-04, fixing the number of compensation of certain employees of the city of Ironton and declaring an emergency were all unanimously passed by council, although council member Dave Frazer wasn’t at the meeting. Each motion to pass was made by Bob Cleary and seconded by Beth Rist. All items were favorably recommended by the finance committee.

Mayor Katrina Keith reappointed Mike McKee to the Zoning Appeals Board, Derek Dufore to the Ironton Health Board, Jim Monte to the Civil Service Commission, Bobbi Nance to the Recreation Advisory Committee and Carolyn Lewis to the Metropolitan Housing Authority.

Councilman Rich Blankenship called a Public Utilities Committee meeting prior to the next Ironton City Council meeting for the purpose of announcing phase three of the sewer separation project and to discuss drainage issues.