Marketing efforts continue for Ironton

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 17, 2000

Despite the excitement of Liebert Corp.

Monday, April 17, 2000

Despite the excitement of Liebert Corp.’s entry into the city and the recent 10-year lease agreement promising a brighter future in Ironton, city officials say they are remaining diligent in their marketing efforts.

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"It seems that all efforts had been very focused on the former Cabletron Systems Inc. property, but the focus has in fact shifted to other properties now that Liebert is coming to the city," Ironton Mayor Bob Cleary said. "The marketing analysis is under way, and when we receive those results, I’m certain the county and the city will work together to put that information to good use."

Once Liebert signed an official document noting its intent to bring jobs to Ironton and that information was made public, state officials also said continued marketing efforts for Ironton and Lawrence County would move forward.

Those efforts will include the marketing analysis and advertisements for the available buildings in the city and the county.

But, Ironton City Council accepted a 2000 Annual Operating Budget that disallowed funding for the city’s proposed economic development department until at least July –  a move hotly debated by council members until its passage on council floor.

Without a strong economic development department, Ironton stands to lose valuable time for marketing the city and shoring up Ironton’s economic standing, council member and former finance committee chairman Joe Black told fellow council members prior to the budget’s passing vote.

"We have to take charge of our own destiny, and it concerns me greatly that we are not funding the economic development department in this budget for another five months," Black said to council during a debate on the issue.

But, the city’s efforts at marketing are not stalled by the lack of an official department, Cleary said.

"I have appointed an ambassador’s committee that is charged with aiding the marketing of the community and the city." Cleary said. "It is comprised of four members that are extremely active in all aspects of the marketing efforts. They’ve been attending a lot of meetings with the state and local officials and the different funding organizations so that they can get a true knowledge and understanding of how the grant funding works and how the community is currently being marketing."

Armed with that knowledge, the members –  Jennifer Allen, Bill Dickens, Okie Ford and B.J. Hannon –  also are participating in direct and active marketing efforts, Cleary said.

"Some of the members of the committee have actually been showing some of the other property that is available in Ironton to two prospective tenants," Cleary said. "And, there has been some activity from two interested parties in some of those alternate properties. With these efforts, we’re trying to keep the thought alive and activities happening along that line while we are waiting to see if the funding will come into place as for an economic development department as we reach July."