Land key to future; what do you think?

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Lawrence County has two great things - its people and its land - both are intertwined together and in many ways interdependent.

Since the very earliest settlers to the region first stopped along the Ohio River banks, the land attracted people to Lawrence County.

Soon those hardy early settlers learned how to scratch out a living from the land.

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And early in our area's history, the land itself, or more precisely what was in the land, was the very nature of life.

The production of pig iron gave Ironton its name. Now the blast furnaces in the county are nothing than aging relics of a way of life long past its prime.

Yet, today that very land that was once mined for iron ore still offers promise for the future.

For decades, the people of Lawrence County relied on the land. Now, the land is sitting idle waiting to rely on the residents to cultivate the absolute best possible avenue for development.

On Thursday evening you have an opportunity to help shape how that future will look. At 7 p.m. at Ohio University Southern's Bowman Auditorium, officials will seek input on how the county's second most valuable resource can be better used.

The county's economic development engine, the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation, along with the Governor's Office of Appalachia and the Foundation for the Tri-State have teamed up to study the possibilities.

But wisely the groups realize that the best way to decide the future of how to improve Lawrence County's land is to ask its residents.

How should the beautiful, unique land we call home best be used for the greater good of the public?

That's the question of the evening on Thursday night. And, we'd bet you have an answer or two, or at least a thought or two. If so, we encourage you to attend the public meeting and offer it up for discussion.

Our homeland - and its people - deserves the very best ideas we can generate.