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Census shows some growth

South Point hasn’t gained enough residents to be recognized as a city yet, but recent census figures show the village doesn’t have far to go.

Monday, November 13, 2000

South Point hasn’t gained enough residents to be recognized as a city yet, but recent census figures show the village doesn’t have far to go.

Government officials recently released the Census 2000 figures, which indicate the village has grown considerably over the last 10 years, officials said.

South Point Mayor Bill Gaskin said village officials were originally estimating a total resident count of about 4,500 before the current population results were released.

In Ohio, a village becomes a city when it grows to a population of 5,000 residents or more.

And, South Point doesn’t appear to be very far away from that requirement, Gaskin said.

"We’d wondered if it would be 5,000 or not, but I didn’t hardly think it would be," he said. "We’re not really disappointed in not becoming a city. South Point grew considerably, anyway."

He said the village’s 13 percent increase over the 3,734 count in 1990 was "the largest percentage in the county."

"We’re about to run out of real estate," Gaskin said. "There are no lots left to build on. We need to expand if we’re going to have any more growth."

South Point did annex hundreds of acres at the old ethanol plant site, but that’s all industrial land, he added.

The village has grown, which now poses a space problem that officials say has a meaning.

"It means progress," Gaskin said. "We’re doing something right."

And the village has many important advantages to offer residents.

"We have pretty good services, utility rates are reasonable, we have good schools we have just about everything you need here," Gaskin said.

The mayor said the traveling distance to Ironton, Ashland, Ky., and Huntington, W.Va., makes it easy for residents to commute to work and use the community as a place for family leisure time.

The upcoming industrial park will soon change the distance many residents travel to work, he said.

"It’s no secret South Point continues to be a bedroom community," he said. "But once they get something going at the industrial park, that will change, too, and the village must prepare for that. (The village) must grow to accommodate future workers, plant officials, anyone, really."

Ironton, however, has shown a slight decrease since its 1990 figure of 13,006 residents.

Mayor Bob Cleary said he feels comfortable with the recent figures only showing a loss of 76 residents in the city.

"I’m surprised, with the number of jobs we’ve lost, that we haven’t lost more than what we have," Cleary said. "We’ve been hit hard over the last few years and these numbers show that a few people have had to move away to find employment."

While the current 12,930 figure is a decrease in population, he said the numbers show the community’s loyalty.

"I’m pleased with that number," he said. "Ironton continued to hold steadfast over the last 10 years despite the hardships and I think the numbers show the people still like the community and its setting to have stayed."

Staff writer Allen Blair contributed to this story.