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Time for answers on Cabletron site

The summer is gone, the Cabletron building sits empty and the Greater Lawrence County Area Chamber of Commerce and the Lawrence Economic Development Corp.

Friday, August 27, 1999

The summer is gone, the Cabletron building sits empty and the Greater Lawrence County Area Chamber of Commerce and the Lawrence Economic Development Corp. are still silent about the future of the empty structure.

And there isn’t much comment either from the city, which a few months ago was talking about a private recruiter – to be employed by the city – to make sure that building found a tenant.

The time has come for some answers and some written plans for what will be done next to connect that empty building with an industry looking for willing workers.

A casual observer of the Cabletron issue might wonder why such a fine location for an industrial interest sits languishing while hundreds of jobs go to West Virginia and other areas.

They might also wonder why filling that building would not be the county chamber of commerce’s top priority – even if it is technically the job of the Lawrence Economic Development Corp.

Perhaps the problem is a little bad feeling over the fact that the city said no to a wellness center in half of the structure.

If that observation is true, Ironton – and Lawrence County – need to look a little bit harder at the chamber and the LEDC and what purpose they serve.

There are plenty of start-up companies looking for industrial sites to produce their products. In fact, some of them are locating in inner cities. But good tenants don’t come to those who wait.

If somebody doesn’t do something soon, Ironton’s Cabletron building will remain empty for another year and be that much less valuable to a tenant.

Ironton residents need to make it clear that is just not acceptable. They do have a right to demand to see a marketing strategy and some real effort on the part of the organization that is supposed to represent them.

In the past, comments have been made that the chamber and the LEDC don’t owe anyone a public presentation of their plans. That is just not true.

Without Ironton and the businesses and private individuals who have devoted time and money to the chamber, there would be no such organization. A chamber cannot exist if the community does not want it.

And the city has an obligation here, too. If Ironton is hiring a private recruiter to handle attracting business to the city, let’s get on with it.

There just isn’t a better time to get something going in the city.

No matter what the excuse, it is time for everyone involved to unruffle their feathers and get to work.