Community must keep Macker here

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 26, 2006

The old clich/ goes that you don’t know what you’ve got until its gone. Well, we hope that doesn’t become the case with the increasingly successful Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament.

Last month, the event transformed downtown Ironton into a basketball Mecca and a real place to be for thousands of people from this community and well beyond.

But that magic may not last forever — especially without community support and a commitment to keep the event growing.

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The tournament will be back in 2007 since the Friends of Ironton civic group that organized it signed a three-year contract and has worked so hard to make the first two years a real success.

Macker organizers and the Friends have both remained optimistic about making the event an annual staple in the downtown streets, something we think needs to happen for the entire community.

We urge residents and business owners to let the Friends of Ironton members know how important this event has become.

First and foremost, the Friends generated nearly $20,000 to help fund its civic projects. Every penny of this money will go right back into the community.

Past projects the Friends spearheaded include street sign replacements, purchasing bulletproof vests for the Ironton Police Department, bleachers for the Ironton Little League, rebuilding the restrooms at Lake Vesuvius and much more.

Perhaps most valuable has been the restored sense of community pride and civic involvement the club has helped create.

Many local businesses also reap the rewards from the Friends’ events such as the Macker, Rally on the River and the new offering this year, Oktoberfest.

It may be difficult to measure but many types of businesses — from convenience stores to discount shops to clothing stores — surely saw some new customers and planted the seeds for a potential return visit.

If everyone comes together to show our support, we can keep the Gus Macker ball bouncing in Ironton’s streets for many years to come.