Bloom project started with seeds of civic pride

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 17, 2007

Fittingly, the newly-formed Ironton in Bloom organization started when a few civic-minded individuals planted a seed.

While this figurative seed was really just an idea and concept, we are already seeing the sprouts from this effort — and more will be popping up in upcoming months.

Here we are in the heart of December, winter still bearing down on us, but a few dedicated volunteers are already thinking about spring flowers.

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By now, most everyone should have heard about the volunteer-driven project that started when Bill Dingus and other community leaders (of which I like to consider myself one) visited Gallipolis to see what they were able to do for their small river town with a little hard work and passion.

The results were that the America in Bloom project had business owners, citizens and civic groups working together on one common goal — making their city beautiful.

And that is what we hope to do here.

At its heart, Ironton in Bloom is an extension of America in Bloom, an organization that encourages communities to get active in beautification projects and community involvement. The concept also tosses in some competition as cities compete against one another.

But really, it isn’t about awards. The whole concept is about making a difference in the community that we all love. Carol Allen, chairperson of the Ironton in Bloom board, couldn’t agree more.

“All this is happening because lots of community people are stepping up and saying, ‘We’d like to help out and make a contribution,’” Allen said. “… People entering the town will be met with beautiful flowers and a warm spring welcome. It sets a tone for the community. We really want to instill pride in the community.”

And that is a worthy cause that everyone should embrace. It also fits nicely with what a variety of other groups and organizations are doing in Ironton.

Lots of great things are in the works for the city’s downtown and Ironton in Bloom can be a key part of that.

News last week that the city received a $400,000 state grant was music to many people’s ears because it works perfectly with these other projects.

These funds will be used with other state and local grants as well as significant private investments to completely reshape portions of the downtown.

While it won’t happen overnight, this $4.8 million investment will be an injection of life and energy into the county seat.

If the downtown was once the heart of Ironton, think of this as a blood transfusion and adding a pacemaker. It may not be exactly what it once was but it could be just as functional or better than ever.

Couple this effort with Ironton in Bloom, the Friends of Ironton’s continued commitment to bringing people to downtown, a resurgence of dining options and the implementation of a transit system and you have a lot of positive energy.

It started with a seed, but will need water and care — which in this case will be generous donations of time and money — for the city to fully bloom and showcase all its brilliant colors.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Ironton Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at