Future of downtown depends on each of us

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 3, 2004

Tribune editorial staff

The soldiers fanned out across the city, armed with bags of mulch, flowers, brooms, shovels, trees and, most important, an unrivaled sense of community pride and spirit.

It was a battle fit for the ages. Good, hard-working people who truly care about their city versus their nasty nemesis - apathetic, neglectful trashers.

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When the smoke cleared on Saturday, the volunteers who participated in the annual Ironton Volunteer Day had won the battle.

In the wake of their warpath, the sidewalks were weeded and swept. Fresh flowers were planted and unsightly areas were left a little easier on the eyes.

By most accounts the day was a great success.

However, the true success will be determined in the days and weeks ahead.

Can we keep things tidy?

Can we, in the immortal words of TV's favorite deputy sheriff Barney Fife, focus on the problem of littering and "nip it in the bud?"

It seems to our eyes - and ears in listening to downtown merchants - one of the biggest problems continues to be caused by weekend miscreants.

Residents and merchants of downtown complain trash and even occasionally human waste is often waiting for them when they reopen after the weekend.

The problem has become too big to continue to ignore.

It seems to us we must enforce laws and "throw the book" at any lawbreakers. Most of us wouldn't allow a neighbor to continue to throw trash into our yards, yet as a city, we seem to continue to look the other way as folks trash downtown.

No one can change this but us. And, the future of our downtown's economic development is at stake. If downtown was flourishing, our tax base would be increased and the city's financial position - read the need to create more personal taxes and fees - would be lessened.

We won the battle Saturday, but the war still looms. Are you ready to help the fight?