Key to economic development may be in your pocket

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 3, 2005

It was 9:30 p.m. on a Saturday night, I was just getting around to checking the messages on the answering machine.

One particular message was a very interesting one. This message was from a friend of mine who had been talking to an individual about a company considering relocating.

The company was looking at two possible locations in Kentucky. Well as this gentleman was talking with my friend, earlier that day, my friend got to thinking, "Why not in Ironton?"

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Excellent question, why not Ironton? I immediately got on the phone, even though it was approaching 10 p.m., and called the gentleman who was looking for a location for the business.

After further discussion it was found that this business had needs that Ironton could certainly fill. This one-hour process was the start of something called economic development. The best part of this true story is that it was initiated by a citizen of Ironton, not an elected official of any kind.

A concerned citizen who asks the important question "Why not Ironton?"

You there, reading your evening newspaper, may hold the key to economic development here in Ironton.

You may know of a friend, relative, neighbor or old high school or college buddy, who owns a business or has a business plan and is looking for a great location with hard working potential employees, just waiting to go to work.

I find that we have gotten into the habit of waiting here in Ironton. We wait on local elected officials and state and national government leaders to ride in on their white horse and "save our city."

Well, I am all for those officials helping us out, but I truly believe it will be the residents of our great city that will be the key to economic revitalization here in Ironton.

It will be the people who ask themselves, "What can I do to help?" You may be the very person who initiates a hotel development, or maybe a new shopping development in Ironton.

In the past month we have gotten some very good "hits" from businesses, looking to Ironton as a possible relocation.

Some of those "hits" were initiated by an Ironton resident who asked the question, "Why not Ironton?"

I have had the great fortune, over the past year to work with the Ironton Port Authority members. These people are the most positive people that I have been around in quite some time.

They are a group of people who want to see Ironton make a big comeback. Moreover, they are a group of people who believe Ironton will make a big comeback.

Ironton's Port Authority will need to rely on elected officials, along with existing businesses,

to help us make this happen.

However, the port authority also needs every citizen of Ironton to help out as well.

If you know of any business that is looking to relocate, regardless of size, contact the Ironton Port Authority at (740) 532-3833.

I promise every lead will be followed through on. The key to economic development in Ironton may just be on your keyring.

Jay Zornes is an Ironton resident and a financial planner who volunteers his time to serve on the Ironton Port Authority. To reach Zornes, e-mail him at