Archived Story

Efforts are rebuilding downtown

Published 12:00am Sunday, July 7, 2013

Two people alone cannot save or rebuild a downtown, but Jon Ferguson and Sam Heighton are certainly doing their part.

Heighton, the manager of the now-thriving Farmers Market in downtown Ironton, and Ferguson, the director of the Ironton aLive community organization focused on business growth, are two of the individuals who are working hard to re-energize the city. Saturday’s efforts at the Farmers Market were just the latest example.

Their efforts, combined with the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization, the now dissolved Ironton Port Authority, Ironton In Bloom, the Ironton Rotary Club and others are starting to make a difference.

More people are visiting downtown, especially on the weekends, and the town looks much more inviting overall.

Now is the time for the businesses to follow this lead and run with it by promoting themselves any way they can, having sidewalk sales and simply letting potential customers know they are there and what they offer.

Revitalizing Ironton’s once booming business district won’t be easy and it won’t happen overnight, but we have to start somewhere.

The old proverb is that a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Heighton, Ferguson and others are leading the way.


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  • swimmingupstream

    The idea of merchants having sidewalk sales was addressed several years ago by our mayor, Rich Blankenship. When merchants put items on the sidewalks in front of their stores Mr. Blankenship chose to enforce an old city ordinance that forbids merchants from such activity, except during city council-approved dollar days sales that last 3 days once or twice a year. These days everyday is dollar days so such sales reserved for twice a year are no longer in vogue. So….while putting stuff on the sidewalk definitely attracts attention and definitely results in more traffic and business….unless the mayor’s position changes I don’t see sidewalk sales happening downtown…

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  • Poor Richard

    I was in Ironton this past Saturday and during the evening this is what I noted: the Giovannis was packed (must be a popular place), the VFW and that other club (Amvets?) were packed, I noted numerous groups of young kids around the city with no adult in sight, some of the children looked to be between 10 and 13 (too young to be running loose). There were families playing in the water park. A police car was cruising thru the city making sure everything was OK. The farmers market looked pretty busy earlier in the day and I noticed on Monday (I was back again) a lot of folks line trimming and mowing. I like the Dollar General (the yellow one), it is clean, neat, large isles, friendly staff. I don’t go to the shopping center very often, but prefer the downtown. If Ironton just had a bookstore I would be all set! So, I would agree, citizens seem to be out doing things.

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