One man alone cannot turn the barge in mid-river

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 26, 2003

Tribune editorial staff

Look around parts of Ironton and you'll see a test of perception, a barometer of one's outlook.

Years of slow decline have left the city with a number of vacant properties. From the former Ironton Iron site to the old Wilson sporting goods building to a large number of downtown buildings, Ironton has certainly seen more prosperous days.

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Talk to folks about the future of Ironton and the divide between optimism and pessimism becomes clear.

Is Ironton a hopeless loss or a city poised for great things? Is the glass half-empty or half-full?

One's outlook is often self-fulfilling. In other words, if you think you will lose, chances are, you will.

Conversely, winners think and believe they'll succeed.

Right now, Ironton needs a positive, focused, concerted voice, if it ever wants to succeed.

This week, the City of Ironton made a bold move by hiring someone who can, and should, begin building that voice. Matt Ward was hired to fill the new post of economic development director.

Ward seems bright and energetic, but also inexperienced. Critics will point to his youth and downplay the chances he will succeed. We disagree. Although the challenge ahead is huge and Ward's inexperience may hinder his progress, it does not mean his work is doomed -- far from it.

However, if Ironton really wants to move ahead and develop, it must be willing to make the sacrifices necessary. From swallowing one's pride about the way things once were to eliminating the idle bickering that often derails economic development projects, citizens must be willing to work together to build a positive future.

That begins with having a good attitude about life in general and our community. Despite the pressure that will certainly fall on Ward in his new position, one man alone cannot turn the barge in mid-river. He will certainly need help and guidance from dozens and dozens of others.

Ironton -- like all things in the world -- will change. The choice comes in how and when it will change.

The choice is ours to make.