Mayor discusses rebranding Ironton

Published 2:23 pm Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Ironton City Council got an update on a downtown building, rebranding and dealing with new mercury rules.

Mayor Katrina Keith updated the council on the situation with Brumberg Building in downtown Ironton. The building is owned by the Lawrence County CAO and they have applied for grants for renovations but nothing has been done with the building yet.

Members of council have been asking about it because they feel like it is an eyesore, especially since it is located right downtown.

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Keith said she had talked to people on the state level and that the funding for the building is being held up because state representatives have changed the formula for dispensing the grant money.

“So, it’s kind of sitting out there waiting for the reps to make a decision on how that funding comes through,” she said. She added that she had been assured that they are “right on the cusp of it. The money is there, they just have to finalize everything.”

She added there is no timeline for when the money would be dispersed.

Keith reminded the council that Rally on the River starts Thursday.

“It will look a little different, won’t be all that fencing because it won’t cost to get in this year,” she said. “I encourage everyone to come out and support that event.”

Keith said she was speaking to people from the Appalachian Economic Development Group and they suggested a re-branding of some of the land and other resources available in Ironton.

“We were talking about Ironton’s history in manufacturing. And I know that is where some of us want to stay,” she said. “But she really encouraged me to re-identify ourselves and manufacturing is not the route for us.”

Keith said that manufacturers that come in to look around at the Ironton Iron site don’t want to be around residences or restaurants, they want to be in an industrial park. She said she is going to invite OhioJobs down to discuss Ironton and what can be done with the available properties.

She said that Sept. 1 is quickly approaching for the new Ohio Environmental Protection Agency mandate requiring them to take more mercury out of the wastewater.

“That is going to cost us $250,000 just to treat this new mandate,” Keith said. “That’s the chemicals, that’s the sludge removal, two pumps to deal with this on the clarifiers and cleaning the grit collector. So we have to address this, we will meet on Monday to discuss it.”

Councilman Bob Cleary was appointed to the Design Review Board which will review new downtown businesses to make sure they are complying with guidelines already in effect in Ironton.

In items on the agenda, an ordinance to buy six new dumpsters and to continue to provide police protection at the Ohio University Southern campus got first readings.

The ordinance for city dumpsters said the ones currently in use are unsafe because of their age and condition. It also states that some businesses have chosen to go with private garbage companies because of that. The city hopes to retain its current customers and get new ones by replacing the dumpsters.

The amount for the six dumpsters is not to exceed $5,000 and the funds for the purchase would come out of the city’s garbage equipment reserve, which is funded by the garbage collection fund.

The ordinance on police protection for Ohio University Southern is a renewal of  a contract the city and the university have had for many years.