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Ironton group seeks to add hotel, restaurant

Aug. 22, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

IRONTON -- The Ironton-Lawrence County Area Community Action Organization hopes to hear by Sept. 1 whether the city can get about $500,000 in grant funds to help with off-site costs for a planned $10 million project to bring a hotel and restaurant to the 9th Street area.

The city is seeking a competitive economic development block grant to pay for things like street improvements, lighting, storm drainage, retaining walls and sanitary sewer improvements to the project, said Ralph Kline, assistant executive director of the community action organization.

The grant application was filed last month, Kline said Monday.

Groundbreaking tentatively is set in late September for the first phase of the 9th Street project, Kline said.

"We've been working on this for years," said Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship. "I'm very confident this will go through."

A job training program helped pay for site development work near the project site earlier this month, Kline said.

The work included taking down trees and brush along the ramp to eastbound U.S. 52 near the Ohio 93 exit, he said. The property is owned by the Ohio Department of Transportation, Kline said.

The site is similar in size to Pullman Square in Huntington, according to Bill Dingus, executive director of the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation.

The property has been vacant for several years. It includes the former Dennis J. Boll Group and Shelter Home and the former county garage property along South 9th Street east of the King's Daughters Urgent Care Center and the Ohio National Guard headquarters building.