• 43°

Ironton council airs importance of city projects

Ironton's possible future became a little clearer Tuesday as Councilman John Elam facilitated a special meeting of the Ironton City Council to develop a business plan for the next five years.

The two-fold purpose of the open discussion was to look at projects the city needs and prioritize them in terms of one-, three- and five-year plans. This continues discussion that started in a May meeting where the city’s strengths and weaknesses were outlined.

"We want to look at things futuristically, but be realistic in our expectations," Elam said. "We need to make the community known for something and think past the fact that we need more jobs -- no open-ended hollow goals, we need objectives."

Among the projects placed in the one-year time frame are a new fire station, creating a Web site for the city, water storage improvements, building McPherson Street Park, establishing a depreciable asset schedule for city equipment, making improvements to the city pool and creating incentive packages to attract new businesses.

City officials would like to adjust zoning regulations and address historic preservation within three years. The plan proposed building a recreation facility such as the YMCA, attracting a major restaurant or hotel and making sewer improvements within five years.

Several projects were listed as ongoing and fell in multiple categories. These include improving industrial and commercial transportation routes, developing a marina and other riverfront properties, attracting new jobs, developing an industrial park on the Honeywell property, and developing other vacant industrial and commercial sites such as the Intermet Ironton Iron site.

Council strongly emphasized that they really need community support and participation. Mayor Bob Cleary said that the government, the community and the media should communicate better and take a more active approach.

"Almost everything on the list takes volunteerism and community involvement," Mayor Bob Cleary said. "It seems like it is harder every year to get people to volunteer their time. We need to get people thinking more positive."

Members of council, Mayor Cleary and City Engineer Joe McCallister proposed the ideas. Three council members were absent and there was no audience.

Elam also drafted a survey that he hopes to use as a customer service document to find out what the people of Ironton really want and need. He will distribute himself if necessary but would like council's support, he said.

"I see it used as a tool where the elected officials can use it to better serve the community. I am never giving up. I am willing to give of my time," he said. "I still believe in this town." Michael Caldwell/The Ironton Tribune