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Former industrial site may go to port authority

Dec. 18, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

IRONTON -- The city of Ironton and the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation are talking about turning the 24-acre Ironton Iron property over to the Lawrence County Port Authority for development as a small commercial and light industry park.

Mayor Rich Blankenship said an ordinance is being drawn up which would need three readings before it could be approved. "I don't know if council would suspend the rules and pass it on an emergency basis or not," Blankenship said Tuesday.

Meeting briefly before a luncheon with members of the Ironton-Lawrence County Area Community Action Organization and the development corporation, the LEDC board agreed to accept the property if Ironton makes it available, said Bill Dingus, the board's executive director.

The board could help the port authority do about $8,000 to $10,000 worth of site development work as soon as possible, Dingus said.

"We could start investing money in the property pretty quickly," Dingus said.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency cleared the former Ironton Iron property for development earlier this month. The property at 2520 S. 3rd St., had housed a number of industrial owners over the past 100 years. Several hundred people lost their jobs when the company closed in 2000.

Ironton Iron turned the property over to the city several years ago, but the city couldn't do anything with the property until it was cleared for redevelopment.

The city and the development corporation want to bring jobs back to the property again.

The development corporation also agreed to oversee completion of a road in the South Ironton Industrial park. It will take about $50,000 to complete the road between South 3rd Street and Lorain Street.

"We want to take some traffic off Lorain Street and away from the Open Door School," Blankenship said. "I think the road will help the whole park."

Jeremy Clay, director at The Point, a South Point industrial park, will oversee the road project, Dingus said. "We hope the road can be done by April," he said.

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