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Signing up: Symmes Creek group wants signs for canoe trail

At a meeting of the Lawrence County Commissioners on Friday, they heard about a grant to help tourists take better advantage of the Arthur S. Ferguson canoe trail.

The Symmes Creek Restoration Committee is applying for a grant to put up signs around the county to direct tourists to the eight boat launches along the 30-mile stretch of the creek that makes up the trail.

Ninety-nine miles of Symmes Creek goes through Lawrence County, starting at Arabia and ending with the creek flowing into the Ohio River at Chesapeake.

Joseph Benning, a member of the Symmes Creek Restoration Committee, gave the commissioners an executive summary of a paneling enhancement grant application.

He said one of the issues that people from outside the area have is that unless they have local knowledge of where the launch sites are, they aren’t going to find them.

“What I am looking to do with the first part of this paneling enhancement grant is to place road signs directing people” to get to the launch sites at Arabia, Aid, Willow Wood, Getaway, the Sky Lake pay fishing pond and the Chesapeake boat ramp, Benning said. The committee would like the signs throughout Lawrence County but needs assistance from the county engineer’s office in regards to permits. He added he would have to have the help of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to get the signs on state routes.

“We have every intersection identified,” he said. “We want to help make Lawrence County a tourist destination and a hub for tourist activities,” he said.

The committee is also going to work with students from the STEM school to improve a plot of land to make them more handicapped accessible.

The 14-year-old canoe trail is named for one of the committee founders, Arthur S. Ferguson, who was one of the more prominent volunteers of the Symmes Creek Restoration Committee in the county as well as one-time managing editor of The Ironton Tribune and one-time mayor of South Point.

County Auditor Paul Knipp reminded everyone that the sale of dog tags, which are required for all canines in the county, were extended through the end of the month.

“That has increased sales a little bit and helped people who had forgotten otherwise,” he said. The price is $16 per dog, $12 per spayed/neutered dog or $48 for a three-year tag per dog. The tags are available at the Lawrence County Auditor’s Office or through its website, the Lawrence County Animal Shelter, Jim’s Gun Shop, Dickess Market, South Point Storage and Pine Tree Carry Out.

Knipp also said that as property taxes are being paid, he has noticed a lot of owners who qualify for programs like the homestead exemption or Current Agricultural Use Value program or other tax exemptions are not taking advantage of it.

“I just want to remind people who are 65 years of age, or turning 65, to contact our office and see if they qualify for homestead exemption. If they own 10 acres or more of land, call and see if they qualify for the CAUV. They can call the office and there is information on our website.”

The commissioners approved a sewer improvement bond of $1.5 million.

Chris Kline explained that it is a 10-year bond to be used for the replacement of membranes in the Rome-Union sewer system. He said they are supposed to be replaced every 10 years and the current ones are 11 years old. The membranes are part of the system of removing contaminants from sewage or waste water.

In two items on their agenda, the commissioners approved re-appointing Sandy Blackburn, Keith Mullihan and Mike McKee to a three-year term on the Lawrence County Port Authority board. They also established a new port authority board seat and appointed Ironton Mayor Sam Cramblit.