Fisher visits downtown Ironton

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 8, 2008

A day after Gov. Ted Strickland proposed a $1.7 billion economic stimulus package for the state, his lieutenant governor was out hitting the stump pushing the program outside the capital.

Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher’s second stop on Thursday, after a visit to Washington State Community College in Marietta, was Ironton.

Here he was given an hour’s tour of the downtown district with civic leaders explaining past urban renewal projects and future wish lists.

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Joking that he hadn’t brought his checkbook, Fisher did bring an evangelist’s fervor for the boss’s program praising the city as the kind of venue the stimulus program is geared for.

“You are an example of a community who doesn’t just have its hand out,” he said. “This can become a place where you want to come to shop and to vacation.”


plan divvies up the billions into eight programs: $250 million for alternative energy; $150 million for infrastructure; $100 million for bioproducts; $200 million for biomedical industry; $200 million for Main Street; $400 million for environmental cleanup projects; and $400 million for road, bridge, water and sewer projects.

First stop was the city building where Mayor Rich Blankenship showed off

photographs and architectural renderings of the Ironton in Bloom project and proposed Ohio River Waterfront.

“This is very exciting, “ Fisher said. “I am a big believer in waterfronts. I’ll talk to (Ohio Department of Natural Resources) director Logan about it.”

Then it was on to a tour of the downtown stopping at Unger’s Shoe’s Store where the lieutenant governor had to bum $4

off Fred Deel, director of the Governor’s Office of Appalachia, for a tin of shoe polish.

“Can I borrow some money, Fred. I left my wallet in the car,” Fisher asked.

With a promise to owner Joe Unger that he would send an autographed photo for the store’s Wall of Fame, the group, which included Ralph Kline of the CAO, Karen Fabiano of the Ohio Department of Development, Bill Dickens of the Ironton Port Authority and Douglas Cade of E.L. Robinson, was off again.

Next was a quick walk-through at the lobby of the Park Avenue Apartments, all the while Fisher, also the director of the Ohio Department of Development,

got a running commentary on the development projects the city has done so far.

After an invitation to this May’s Memorial Day Parade, Fisher headed for Austyn’s for another meet and greet where he told the handful there he said the state would send some of the proposed economic package, if passed, back to Ironton.

“We want to be your partner,” Fisher said.