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Downtown beautification meetings set

Next week, there will be two organizational meetings for groups to help beautify downtown Ironton.

One is for the program America in Bloom and the other is for the Downtown Main Street project. Both will be Tuesday at Austyn’s with the first meeting at 5:30 p.m. and the second at 7 p.m.

Cindy Anderson, the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization community development director, said America in Bloom is a citywide project. The goal is to have colorful flowers to make Ironton more appealing.

“Our main focus is the downtown area, we want to get all the business owners involved, but we hope it spreads to the residential areas,” she said. “We want to spruce up Ironton.”

Recently, a group of local leaders went to Gallipolis to see how the project was working there and came away with positive feelings.

“They have actually won a competition,” Anderson said. “Their downtown’s central square is absolutely gorgeous. They have planters hanging from the lampposts, they have planters. The businesses have window boxes. It was beautiful.”

Anderson would like to see the same thing here.

“What we would like to have, is instead of just trees downtown, is planters with flowers to add some vibrancy, some color. Just make downtown come alive with more plants which hopefully will make people take more pride in our town.”

The Main Street program is not exactly tied in with the national program. A town can’t be part of it until the group nominates them but the city has to have a program in place to get involved.

“So we are calling ourselves a downtown organization but we are adopting their approach,” Anderson said.

Ralph Kline, assistant executive director of the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization said the goal of the group is to act as an advocate for the downtown area.

“This doesn’t replace groups like Friends of Ironton, or the design committees or chambers or port authorities,” Kline said. “But to basically, Main Street acts as the glue between the organizations.”

The goal of the project is in essence to make a city attractive for tourism by making changes and preserving buildings and elements that make the city unique.