Community turns out for business mixerPublished 9:13am Friday, September 20, 2013
It was clear from the turnout Thursday evening at Ironton aLive’s first business mixer that plenty of people still care about the future of the city.
From city and county elected officials and civic leaders to owners of both new and long-time businesses, everyone in attendance had Ironton in mind.
The purpose of the after-hours mixer, held at the Ro-Na Theater, was for Ironton aLive, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the city’s economy, to introduce its board members to the business community and collect feedback on what direction the city should be headed.
“There is a huge interest in making Ironton a better place to live and work,” Jon Ferguson, the organization’s executive director, said.
Since its inception in February 2012, Ironton aLive has worked with other civic groups and organizations to promote their events and get the community interested in what’s going on in Ironton.
This spring, the organization made a push with promoting the Ironton Farmers Market, Friend of Ironton’s Rally on the River and fireworks display, Triple Crown Beverage’s Clydesdales event, and the St. Mary’s Summer Concert Series in downtown.
Susan Brown, board member of the Ironton Council for the Arts, said she and other members of the group came to the mixer to show their support in promoting Ironton.
“We want to promote Ironton as well,” Brown said. “If there is anything we can do, we would be more than happy to help. And I am proud of what Ironton has been able to accomplish.”
Rick Jansen, president of FOI, said Ironton aLive bringing together an entire business community was “priceless.”
“It’s a great partnership for us and other local businesses,” Jansen said of Ironton aLive’s efforts. “It’s another part of the puzzle to get the town working.”
Jansen also said Ironton aLive is a key component of communication between all the different civic groups and businesses.
In fact, many of the board members are also members of other civic organizations. Others are a part of the county’s economic organizations while some are local business owners.
Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship represents the city on Ironton aLive’s board. He said in its short existence, Ironton aLive has already been an asset to the city.
“Is the glass half full, or it is half empty?” Blankenship said. “I want to be optimistic. I hope that spreads. And I truly believe it has. I think Ironton has a lot of good things in store.”
Jane Griffith, an Ironton aLive board member and a FOI board member, said she is keeping a positive outlook as well. Griffith said she hopes to see downtown prosper with retail shops, like it used to have.
“I think if we keep working hard enough, we can do that,” Griffith said. “Everyone has to work together.”