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Ironton council to hear traffic signal, camp ordinances

Will what some Ironton City Council members consider to be an unsafe intersection be established as a three-way flashing red light stop despite the threat of losing funding from the Ohio Department of Transportation? That question will be answered Thursday evening at the Ironton City Council meeting.

The council will hear the third reading of an ordinance to designate the intersection of South Seventh Street and Park Avenue as a three-way flashing red light.

According to a traffic study completed in May 2009, the intersection does not warrant such a signal. Putting one there could jeopardize an approximately $1.14 million signalization project for the city, said Kathleen Fuller, public information officer for ODOT District 9.

At the last meeting, council members were given a letter from an ODOT representative that outlined the department’s position on the traffic signal.

“The proposed Ironton Traffic Improvement Project that is scheduled to be sold in Fiscal Year 2013 includes upgrading the signals on Park Avenue and installing a signalization system that will coordinate all of the signals to operate as a centralized system,” Gregory Baird, District 9 bridge and traffic studies engineer, wrote in the letter. “To install a muli-way stop control intersection on a route that has a coordinated traffic system would negate any good that would be gained by coordinating the signals.

“Since federal funding will be used, in part, for this project, any unwarranted traffic control devices within the limits of the project would need to be addressed before these funds can be used.”

Councilman Frank Murphy has sponsored the proposed ordinance.

This is the second time the council will vote on the ordinance. An ordinance with the same wording and intent was voted down 4-3 during the Aug. 26 meeting.

Councilmen Bob Cleary, Dave Frazer, Mike Lutz and Councilwoman Beth Rist voted against the measure, while Councilmen Frank Murphy, Kevin Waldo and Chuck O’Leary voted yes.

O’Leary sponsored the previous ordinance and told council that his mother was involved in a car accident at the intersection. Both Murphy and O’Leary have argued that the intersection is unsafe.

Council will also decide at the meeting if the American Legion Post 433 will put a campground in the Green Valley area of Ironton.

The agenda includes an ordinance that if passed would allow Mayor Rich Blankenship to advertise for the lease of the old boat marina off of North Second Street on Stormes Creek. If the ordinance is passed, the legion had planned to bid on the 99-year lease of the property and use the property as a permanent campground.

Blankenship has said he opposes both the length of the lease and having the location as a permanent campground.

Murphy, who is a member of the legion, sponsored the ordinance.

Following a public hearing during which several residents voiced their concerns over the campground project, Murphy backed off of the ordinance, saying that the legion is considering other locations for areas outside the city limits for the project.

Murphy made a motion to let the ordinance die on the table, though the council will ultimately decide if it passes or not.

The council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at the Ironton City Center.