Ironton leaders can grant Christmas wishes Santa cannot

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 19, 2005

Ladies and gentleman, yours truly was visited this week by the Ghost of Christmas Past.

Well, almost.

Actually it was one of our dear readers who stopped by my office to talk for a while.

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This gentleman was frustrated and a little bit aggravated, too.

I invited him in and asked what I could do to help.

As it turns out, he’s a long-time resident of Ironton. He likes the place quite a bit (as many of us do).

But each year he sends out his Christmas wish list to Santa Claus.

Each year, he jumps out of bed on Christmas morning and runs to the window to see if his dreams have come true.

What’s interesting is that his list of “wants” is not filled with selfish items. They’re mostly for the good of the community.

First up, he said, getting rid of blight.

Look around the town, the man said, swinging his hand around; “it’s everywhere.”

“Down there on Third Street next to that Advance Auto place there are two burned houses,” he said. “They’ve been there forever. Most cities give them 30 days to tear them down or clean them up.”

Not in Ironton, however. We allow vacant, ugly property to sit unchecked. No fines, no worries, just let it sit. Maybe things will get better, that seems to be the line of thinking.”

Next up, the man said, can we figure out a way to reduce the tax burden of getting new schools and the increasing fees in the city for folks on fixed incomes?

“I took an early retirement pension,” the man said. “I can’t honestly pay much more.”

What’s worse, the man said is that, “a lot of people who are for the levies are not going to be affected by it,” his point being that some vocal supporters are from outside the area.

Let’s use some common sense to save some money, the man said.

Why not combine all law enforcement county wide. Have the municipalities pay money to the county for police protection and put the county sheriff in charge of it?

Not a bad idea, I think, if you can get all of those in political power to let go for a bit. Makes sense, but pride will probably prevent it from happening.

But hey, this isn’t my Christmas list, it’s my visitors, so let’s get back to it.

Littering is a huge problem, the man said. “There’s no concern about littering. Fine a few people and that would help deter a lot of it.”

And what is perhaps the county’s worst eyesore, the former Carlyle Tile Plant near the foot of the Ashland Bridge in Coal Grove, also tops the man’s list.

The site is privately owned and the Village of Coal Grove has applied for grant funding to help demolish the site and clean it up for economic development purposes.

“I don’t feel like our tax dollars should be paid to help clean up that site,” the man said.

Santa, let us know if you need more details. The man will be happy to send the list again or give you a call. Just don’t forget us this year, Santa. We’re the place with the burned out houses but some great people who aren’t going to give up on getting things right.

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached at (740) 532-1441 ext. 12 or by e-mail to