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Two square off for mayor’s seat

Editor’s note: This is another installment in The Tribune’s series of 1999 election previews.

Tuesday, October 05, 1999

Editor’s Note: This is another installment in The Tribune’s series of 1999 election previews. Today’s article will feature the Ironton mayor’s race. Wednesday, The Tribune will preview the Proctorville mayor’s race.

With less than a month to go before the election, political endorsement signs are popping up in Ironton yards almost as frequently as fall decorations.

Messages about the Ironton mayor’s race come in either green or red and blue this year, proudly displaying the campaign slogans of the two candidates between which residents will choose on Election Day.

Along with the signs and slogans come platforms and plans, and candidate Marvin Black said he is ready to work hard for the City of Ironton if elected.

&uot;We need to set goals that are attainable and work together toward those goals,&uot; Black said. &uot;I think we need to promote our community and the assets we have in it, and we need to encourage everyone to get involved.&uot;

One such long-range goal that will aid a new mayor in getting residents involved is bringing back feelings of community, Black added.

&uot;I’m excited about Ironton – we have a rich heritage and so much potential,&uot; he said. &uot;We need to restore our civic pride so that everyone can capture the vision of Ironton’s future and of seeing Ironton reach that potential.&uot;

After filling the unexpired term of former mayor Bill Sheridan two years ago, Ironton Mayor Bob Cleary said he hopes to have the opportunity to continue as mayor.

&uot;During the last two years, my staff, Ironton City Council and I have all worked diligently to take the city to great levels, and I think a lot of really positive things have happened during that time,&uot; Cleary said. &uot;We’ve seen the beginnings of the Downtown Revitalization Project, the Empowerment Zone, which has the potential to bring millions of dollars into the city in the coming years, the development of a state-of-the-art engineering department, which has saved the city thousands of dollars in not having to hire an outside firm to do the work.&uot;

Both candidates said they believe working within a balanced budget will be one of the major challenges for the mayor’s office in the coming years.

&uot;The 2000 budget is going to be crucial, and I know that unless we get more business into our city, that is going to be difficult,&uot; Black said. &uot;My goal is definitely to work within the budget while working on ways to increase the revenue and income tax base through new business and industry.&uot;

Finding new ways to bring in industry and increase the city income will be a much easier, more fruitful task once a city recruiter is hired, Cleary said.

&uot;I’ve appointed many different, qualified people who all have unique talents to the committee that is determining the type of individual we will be looking for in a city recruiter,&uot; Cleary said. &uot;A recruiter for our city will not only look to bring new industry to fill the Cabletron building and put those workers back to work, but also will be required to aggressively seek new industry to fill other vacant buildings in the city, find developers for the property that we have remaining and work with the businesses who have already invested in Ironton to help them find grants and opportunities to expand.&uot;

As a recipient of the 1999 Hometown Leadership Award, Cleary said he understands that, despite Ironton’s many successes in the last two years, there still is work to be done. And, he looks forward to the challenges ahead, he added.

&uot;With the many new businesses that have opened in the past two years, I think that says something about the forward direction the city is taking. These businesses were willing to invest in our city,&uot; he said. &uot;We are gaining ground, and it’s going to take work, but that is something we are doing well together and will continue to do into the new century.&uot;

A city recruiter could very well be an answer to some of the city’s industrial revenue difficulties, but Ironton leaders must be cautious not to cause more problems than they solve, Black said.

&uot;I know that council and finance committee are very sensitive to the budget, and I know they are acting on facts and on what is in the best interest of the people,&uot; Black said. &uot;If there is a way to bring in a high-caliber person to assist the mayor in recruiting, then I would support finding someone to fill that position, but only if it is feasible within the existing budget.&uot;

Developing a greater interest in tourism could be one way to generate income without stretching the budget any tighter, he added.

&uot;A lot of things in our history to build upon are already in place, and I think, of interest to others. We just need to get the word out,&uot; Black said. &uot;Ironton is a wonderful city, and we have dedicated, hard-working people here. I think everything we seek is within our reach, and together, we can all make it happen.&uot;