A map would help city get to Tomorrowland

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 25, 2003

We were somewhere between Adventureland and Tomorrowland. The years have faded my memory a bit, but I think our family was standing near the Swiss Family Tree when we realized our situation.

We were lost.

So we sat there, gazing at 360 degrees of Disney and not really knowing in which direction we needed to head.

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Our problem wasn't intelligence; it was simply a lack of forethought. We started walking without a plan and our lack of planning eventually caught up with us.

That brief story from my childhood came bubbling up out of the recesses of my mind last week. It happened after learning the city of Ironton shared the situation my family found itself in more than two decades ago -- lack of planning has begun to catch up with it.

Specifically, I was surprised when I realized that the city has no long-term plan for the future.

Developers call them comprehensive plans. Such a plan is just a map for the future.

Looking 20 years into the future certainly is not an exact science, but it can be helpful in dealing with large municipal projects.

What will the city need in 10 years? What will the transportation system be like in 20 years? What about water?

Should the city look to annex more land? If so, where? Which roads will need to be widened in the next decade? How can we best utilize the city's riverfront property? Additional public properties?

All are good questions and all should be answered in writing.

Creating such a plan will not be quick and it may not be easy.

Finding the funding to do so also will not be easy since spending money on what amounts to a roadmap is not the sort of thing that excites a politician.

But such a plan could be of great benefit to Ironton's residents no matter who is sitting in the political seats of power.

Apparently the city has made attempts in the past, but has not kept the plan updated as the years passed.

As the city begins finalizing its budget, hopefully, city leaders will consider the benefits of creating such a comprehensive, long-term plan for our future.

Right now the city of Ironton is stuck walking through Adventureland, but it needs to be running toward Tomorrowland and a map and compass will help us get there quickly.

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Tribune. He can be reached at (740) 532-1445 ext. 12 or by e-mail to kevin.cooper@irontontribune.com