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[Ironton] Various news and tidbits

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Port authority gets grant for riverfront park

Notes --

1. Senator Tom Niehaus is expected to deliver a $150,000 check to the Ironton Port Authority to purchase land that will become part of a new riverfront park. The land purchased will be between the Center Street landing at the westewater treatment plant between the Ohio River and the floodwall near Etna Street.

2. The park will be developed in phases, and could be 14 acres eventually. The land purchased will be only four acres, and is adjacent to other city-owned property.

3. The park will include an amphitheater, bike trails, walking trails, a playground, concession stand, and a nice lookout.

4. It will be part of other revitalization projects -- such as the new bus system (just recently reinstated), loft apartments (???!), Main Street project, etc.

Article information: "Port authority gets grant for riverfront park, By Teresa Moore, The Ironton Tribune, May 15, 2007"

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:shok:

Community gets chance for final high school tour

Notes --

1. Ironton City Schools will have a planned informal open house on graduation day, May 27, to allow anyone to have a last chance to walk the halls of Ironton High School. It is expected to close at the end of the year and be demolished. A new school will be built in its place.

2. A levy was passed and the majority voted for a new building instead of renovations.

3. The school will be open from 12 to 2 PM.

Article information: "Community gets chance for final high school tour, By Teresa Moore, The Ironton Tribune, May 16, 2007"

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I really need to read the Ironton Tribune more...

Plan looking at loft apartments

Notes --

1. There is a plan to convert a few downtown Ironton buildings into loft-style apartments and businesses. The Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization and the Lawrence County Economic Development Corp. have options to buy several buildings. These include --

1a. The Marlow Theater (Park Ave. and Third St.) currently houses Tim's News,

1b. Guy's Floor Covering (Vernon and Third St.) -- see above.

1c. Jazzercise Center.

2. The Jazzercise Center could be demolished for parking. (Although a parking lot exists across the street!)

3. Tim Gearhart, owner of Tim's News, supports the project. He has owned the building for 25 years and is willing to sell it. He thought about doing a similar project but it was beyond his ability -- the cost was one million dollars.

4. The project has an estimated price tag of $4.5 million with funding coming from multiple sources. A completion date is set for December 2009. Plans will be submitted to the state and could be approved by June.

5. The lofts will have open spaces, hardwood floors and exposed beams. There will be both efficiencies and single bedrooms, and will not be public housing.

Article information: "Plan looking at loft apartments, By Mark Shaffer, The Ironton Tribune, March 17, 2007"

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Plans to demolish hospital proceed

Notes --

1. The Ironton Port Authority (IPA) has been approved for a $750,000 Clean Ohio Assitance grant to raze the River Valley Hospital building. The hospital closed in 2001. It was purchased in 2002 by Kentucky's Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital (OLBH), but it was never reused.

1a. The grant, which comes from the Ohio Department of Development, will be combined with $100,060 in matching funds from OLBH.

2. The land that the hospital rests on could become upscale housing. The homes that will be constructed must blend in with the existing neighborhood; they will not be low-income housing.

3. The controlling board will soon give its approval in early June. Soon after, an engineering consultant will supervise the asbestos abatement and then demolish the hospital. It could be demolished by late-fall.

Article information: "Plans to demolish hospital proceed, By Teresa Moore, The Ironton Tribune, May 19, 2007"

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1. Ironton City Schools will have a planned informal open house on graduation day, May 27, to allow anyone to have a last chance to walk the halls of Ironton High School. It is expected to close at the end of the year and be demolished. A new school will be built in its place.

2. A levy was passed and the majority voted for a new building instead of renovations.

3. The school will be open from 12 to 2 PM.

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Low bids have school officials optimistic

Notes --

1. The bids for two preparatory projects for the new Ironton City Schools are under initial estimates. A contractor from Portsmouth was the low bidder for the early site package for the Ironton High School site -- $26,000 below the architect's estimate of $285,737. A contractor from Zanesville was the low bidder for the asbestos abatement project at the high school -- at $97,549, under the original estimate of $134,646.

2. Another contractor on the early site package for the elementary and middle school, estimated to cost $926,000, came in under budget.

3. Early site packages include the installation of some underground utilities, such as natural gas, sewer, and water -- and will allow for future construction of the new school buildings. It will allow the continued use of the Conley Center for classroom space while the new buildings are being constructed.

Article information: "Low bids have school officials optimistic, By TERESA MOORE, The Ironton Tribune, Wednesday, June 6, 2007"

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City eyes grant worth $3 million to clean up site

Notes --

1. Grant money for the continued cleanup of the former 25-acre Intermet and Ironton Iron site may be coming soon to the city of Ironton. The city has applied up to $3 million in grant money to clean the site and make it usable for commercial properties. It has a rail spur and is along the Heartland Corridor.

2. Phase I (visual inspection) and Phase II (taking core samples to see if there are environmental hazards) are completed. Phase II was completed in December.

3. If the site is cleaned up, it would be purchased by the city for a symbolic $1. It would be used for economic development -- a factory or retail trade.

4. The site was a foundry for more than 100 years and operated as Dayton Malleable and Ironton Iron to produce automotive casings. In 1988, Intermet corp. purchased the site and closed it in 2000 after suppliers went overseas to purchase their products.

5. The city has been attempting to clean the site for three years. It was once close to purchasing the land, but Intermet filed for bankruptcy.

Article information: "City eyes grant worth $3 million to clean up site, By MARK SHAFFER, The Ironton Tribune, Wednesday, June 6, 2007"

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Architects reveal new designs for Ironton schools

Architects reveal new designs for Ironton schools, By Teresa Moore, The Ironton Tribune, June 11, 2007

New elementary school renderings

New high school renderings

Rendering and floor plans for both

Construction update

The architects unveiled design plans for the new Ironton High School auditorium, which will share an entry way with the auxiliary gymnasium. The entry way will also double as a cafeteria during school hours. The new auditorium, which will be nearly the same size as the existing one, will feature acoustical panels, dressing rooms, and storage areas. It will have a catwalk for lighting, an orchestra pit, and PVC carpeting. These are all features the existing facility does not have -- plus, air conditioning!

Also of note, the Heplar Street entrance (eastern entrance) will be spared from demolition and will be used as decoration in the cafeteria. The existing glass and door will be replaced with mirrors for an "art deco effect." Medallions and urns from the building will be saved and reused in the event entry area. The old ticket booth and clock, in front of the auditorium, will be used in the new school, along with the chandeliers from the old auditorium.

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Leaders have plan for downtown revitalization

By Teresa Moore, The Ironton Tribune, August 11, 2007

Just a little more than three months ago, the city of Ironton unveiled a plan to revitalize the city by focusing on its strengths first within the business district, and then creating new life around that. Those in charge of the project have been busy applying for numerous grants and seeking support from the community.

The downtown revitalization plan was developed by the Poggemeyer Design Group of Bowling Green. It encourages private investments to downtown structures, new signage, and "pedestrian comforts" to make the city more attractive and convenient. A transit station should also be incorporated between Vernon and Washington Streets, south of Second Street, to accommodate a bus system, according to the plan. Parking should also be improved next to the new Austyn's restaurant.

In late June, the Ohio Department of Development reviewed the city's preliminary funding application and was pleased. ODD officials invited leaders from Ironton to submit a final application for Tier 2 funding. The $400,000, if approved, would be used for public facility improvements, such as sidewalks, and as leverage to obtain other government grants. The final application must be submitted by early October. If approved in early winter, design work would begin in the winter of 2007 and construction could begin by summer 2008.

The city is also seeking National Historic Preservation status for the Brumberger building that formerly housed Guy's Floor Covering, and the Marlow building that houses Tim's News and Novelties. A designation such as that would make it available to both federal and state tax credits that would amount to 50 cents for every dollar spent on improvements. The city has already received a $200,000 facade improvement grant for the Marlow building and are seeking money from the KYOVA interstate planning commission.

A planned bus system that would serve parts of Lawrence County and elsewhere would be paid in part by federal transit monies.

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