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Flooding, trucks, demo discussed at council

It was a long Ironton City Council meeting with most of the time taken by citizens complaining about recent rains flooding their basements.

The situation began back in 2014 when four neighbors in the 1900 block of North Second Street had their basements flooded by water. The city installed back flow valves in 2016 to alleviate the problem but it hasn’t.

On June 23, the citizens were called by the city and warned that there was a chance of flooding because heavy rains were predicted. And the basements did flood.

“We’ve got to have some help,” said Rick McKnight. He said the basement has flooded four times in three years since a pipe was put in. “Nothing has been done.”

The pipe was put in as part of the city’s Environmental Protection Agency-mandated storm sewer separation project.

McKnight said it is impossible to live in the house that has been in his family for 60 years, adding that they can’t use the bathroom when the back flow valve is engaged because they are afraid it is going to cause more flooding.

He said the neighbors’ houses were built at different times and don’t all have the same drains, but all have the same flooding.

“I’m tired of it, we’re all tired of it,” McKnight said.

Other neighbors spoke about the same thing happening to them. After an hour and half, Vice Mayor Craig Harvey cut off comments because everyone had spoken and the council is just a legislative body. He explained it was the responsibility of the mayor’s office and Wastewater Department to help with the problem.

In other matters, Mayor Katrina Keith spoke to the council about demolitions that are happening in the city.

She said eight homes are scheduled for demolition by the Land Bank within the next 30 days.

“If you’ve noticed around town; Spruce Street, S. Seventh, N. Fifth; there are already houses coming down,” she said, adding there are 15 more dilapidated houses going before the Board of

Revisions and have a potential of being razed before the end of the year. “We’re very excited about that.”

Keith said there is paving being done on Sixth Street and they aren’t finished with it yet.

“We will continue from Oak to Mulberry. We will do Liberty Avenue around onto Maple and then we will do Third Street and Jefferson.”

Keith said the city has seen an increase in big trucks coming in off Ohio 141.

“We put the sign up on 11th Street not to go down it. Fortunately, they see that, but then they make a right onto Ninth Street and go down our brick streets,” she said. She added that she is working with the Ohio Department of Transportation and two companies on that end of town to figure out how to get those trucks not to go down those roads.

She said the city was going to put up large signs to direct them the proper way and that ODOT is going to see about putting signs up on the highway to direct them to the 243 and 93 exits.

Keith said now that the old Ironton-Russell Bridge is down, there is an issue of the train tracks being open. The cause for concern is that the Splash Park is right there and children may wander onto the tracks.

“We are looking at applying for a grant, a critical infrastructure type grant, where we could get that paved and get some fencing along that and keep kids from the railroad tracks,” she said.

An old building there is going to be donated to the city and the plan is to possibly upgrade it into a concession stand that could be used by people at the park and by the Friends of Ironton during the bike rally and other events.

Keith was asked if that could be turned into a roadway. She said that it was going to be used for a bike path, green space or more room for special events.

Keith said that the town hall meetings she has been holding at local restaurants have gone really well and a large number of people have come out to ask questions. The next one will be at 11 a.m. on July 20 at Peddler’s restaurant.

Harvey also made it a point to congratulate Pam Wagner, who was providing security, on her recent promotion from the Ironton Police Department captain to chief. He also thanked Detective Captain Joe Ross for serving as interim chief since February.

At about 7:40 p.m., the council started on legislative matters.

A contract with the Ohio Department of Transportation to pave Ohio 141 from Liberty Avenue to Ohio 217 was passed and is going to cost the city nothing. The estimated cost to the city is $22,750 but “It’s zero to us. KYOVA Interstate Planning Commission stepped in to absorb that for us,” Keith said.

“That’s why I sponsored it,” Harvey said, with a laugh.

The resolution passed 5-0.

The council passed a request for the county auditor to certify the estimated property tax revenue for a renewal recreation levy. The certification is needed before the renewal levy can be submitted to the Board of Elections to get on the ballot in November.

And they also passed an ordinance allowing SBA to sublease space on the cell tower.

After the two items were passed with only five members present, it was pointed out that they would not go into affect for 30 days before they can even send the items out. That meant the levy would not meet the Aug. 8 deadline to be on the November ballot.

The council voted to rescind the vote and will hold a special meeting with at least six members so that it can get on the ballot in the fall. The date for the special meeting has not been set yet.