Ironton rec levy passes

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 12, 2022

Also receives grant for recreation improvements

On Tuesday’s general election, the Ironton recreation levy that failed in the spring was back on the ballot again and this time it passed, with a mere 190 more yes votes than no votes.

The tally on Tuesday night was 1,507 for it and 1,317 against it.

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Ironton Council president Chris Haney said that before the election, the council and other city officials tried to do a better job of explaining what the funds generated by the renewal levy are used for.

“I feel really good about it,” he said, of the levy passing. “I think this time we did a better job of educating and getting the information out to the public. A lot of people got behind it.”

The rec levy has been in effect for the last decade and a half, if not longer. The .5 mil levy is 35 percent of the assessed value of a piece of property, which means that if the it is valued at $100,000 the total tax is $17.50 for a year.

“I really do appreciate the residents for
renewing the rec levy,” Haney said. “Strong
recreational offerings show a strong community. Give kids and adults something to do and they will.”

Since it didn’t pass in the spring, the city had been holding off on some projects because no one was sure if there would be money
available for them.

“With the continuation and the renewal, we already have some things in the works and people will really see what their money goes for, new playground equipment, some major improvements to the river front, continued recreational activities and some additional recreational activities,” Haney said. “We are really excited because we had to put the brakes on some stuff due to the unknown if it didn’t pass. We are looking
forward to be able to show residents what their money goes toward.”

The money goes to support the city’s parks including the Etna Street, Pocket Park, Eight Street Park, the Splash Park and the Moulten Field Park. Two other parks in town, Beechwood and Ninth Street, are private and don’t belong to the city.

One recent expansion was two basketball leagues for the younger residents of the city, the Ironton Recreation League now has an instructional league for kids in Kindergarten- second grade and teams for third-sixth graders.

And the city likes to bank some of the funds generated by the rec levy, because it is easier to get state and federal grants if the city has funds to help pay for part of the project.

A recent example of that is on Monday, the State of Ohio announced grant funding for 68 new outdoor recreation projects across the state, Ironton was on that list and will be getting $73,321 to install new playground
equipment, a volleyball court and expand the walking trail at the Ironton Riverfront Park.

Haney said thecouncil had already set aside around $300,000 to improve the riverfront including upgrading the restrooms.

And Ralph Kline, of the Lawrence County-Ironton Community Action Organization, had applied on the council’s behalf to get the grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ NatureWorks program for the additional improvements.

NatureWorks grants provide up to 75 percent reimbursement assistance to local government subdivisions for the development of recreational areas. That means the city had to have the other 25 percent of the funds, which comes from the rec levy.

Haney sees the grant as very positive for Ironton.

“I think a lot of other communities would have love to have river front access like we have,” he said. “And since we are lucky enough to have it, we really need to utilize it and show residents how great we do have it,” he said, pointing out that the riverfront park is used for many events like Ohio River Revival, 5K runs and numerous other community events. “I think that money will go a long way to improving that area for residents.”