A land transfer could jumpstart Union Mills Locks restoration.
Scioto County has just one bit of business left to take care of before backers of a plan to restore the Union Mill Locks in West Portsmouth. The remains of Lock 50, which are next to Union Mills Confectionary on Galena Pike, are near the end of the Ohio and Erie Canal.
As Scioto County Commissioner Bryan Davis pointed out, the canal was an “engineering marvel at the time. The first form of commercial transportation in Ohio.”
Davis introduced Bill Tipton from the Scenic Scioto Heritage Trail organization at Thursday’s county’s commissioners meeting. Tipton gave an update on the drive to restore the site. Many former canal sites in Ohio have been turned into parks and historical attractions.
The state has helped the group take care of obtaining some necessary right-of-ways for State-owned lands that will allow them to begin the process of applying for grants.
Davis said commissioners had been notified by ODOT of their willingness to transfer the land to the county and would not need to write a letter confirming their intention to accept it.
Commissioner Mike Crabtree pointed out that the State would still have final say over the land and that any major changes would require state approval.
Tipton said it’s important to have hands-on historical sites for students to visit.
Davis agreed, expressing the hope that a restored lock could be a tourist attraction that would keep an important part of Ohio history alive.
“Hopefully it doesn’t disappear from the textbooks. You know how history is after a while it becomes ancient history. Most people don’t know it’s there and it’s a neat piece of history.”
Images of Lock 50 courtesy of Portsmouthinfo.net
Land Transfer Union Mills Locks