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Ironton gets funds to improve riverfront

Apr. 17, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

IRONTON -- The city of Ironton was among only 16 communities across the country to receive a U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife grant for $630,000 for improvements to the city's riverfront, Mayor Rich Blankenship said Tuesday.

The city will need to come up with $212,000 in matching funds to match the federal grant, he said. "I feel confident we'll obtain the local match. We're working with local entities to obtain the local match." He declined to say which agencies and organizations he has approached.

"It won't be overnight," Blankenship. "It will take months. We were just notified today by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources."

The city would have to get an architect for the project and then award it for bid if the local match can be secured.

The project includes a boat slip for 10 boats near the Center Street landing. It also calls for new restrooms and city water service to be extended south of the city floodwall.

"We've been working on this for four years or more," Blankenship said.

Ironton applied for the grant in June 2012. Blankenship plans to meet with state officials next month at the riverfront to discuss the project.

American Disabilities Act-approved sidewalks and a walking trail are part of the project, Blankenship said.

The city also has received a $100,000 Natureworks grant for riverfront improvements that can be used for the planned improvements, Blankenship said.

"As long as I can remember, our riverfront has been under-utilized," Blankenship said. "I want families to be able to use it. We have a lot of boaters in Lawrence County."

Upgrading the boat ramps is a big part of the project, he said.

The boat docks will be removed in winter, he said.