City to purchase Lombard school property

Mar. 30—On Thursday, the Ironton City Council voted to purchase the Lombard School property from the county.

Resolution 24-13 authorized the mayor to enter into an agreement with Lawrence County to purchase the former school property, which is two parcels, for the $300,000.

Mayor Sam Cramblitt said the city purchased with an eye towards future development, whether it is residential or business.

"We have many different needs," he said, adding that the area is zoned for industry and residential. "We would like to explore the options of what it could become."

Cramblitt said that the city has gotten rid of some its building and the money from those sales will be used to pay for the Lombard property.

"Having an opportunity to have control of the site, rather than an individual who might not do anything with it, the city sees as an asset," he said. "We want to make sure something is done with it."

Cramblitt said they are going to market the property to see if there is any interest from businesses and if there is, the city will have the ability to do the development themselves.

And cities generally don't have a piece of property that big that doesn't need remediation and has good access to area highways.

"It's a couple of acres," Cramblitt said. "Being able to have that if a potential business or developer comes, we have this asset available."

He said that if there isn't any business interest, it could be turned into residential properties.

"There is always a need for residential property," he said, pointing out how the site where the hospital is now houses. "And look what it has done for that neighborhood. So, that is always an option for this property."

The Lombard Elementary School was built in 1915 and was used until 1977 when Ironton consolidated schools and closed the elementary. It was last used as the Lawrence County DD's Open Door School until the school was moved to Coal Grove in 2019.

The county owned the property but said the old building was too expensive to maintain. It was demolished in January 2023 when the county commissioners used a state grant to raze the building after it had been vandalized several times including playground equipment being set on fire.

At one point, the commissioners had planned to use the site to build a new jail, but that plan was scrapped after protests from people in the neighborhood around the former school property.