Downtown cleanup part of big picture

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 3, 2008

Officials from Cincinnati and Hamilton County celebrated Wednesday during a groundbreaking ceremony for a $1 billion retail, recreation, office and residential complex along the Ohio River that has been a long time coming.

The project, called “The Banks,” will begin with parking garages that will bring the rest of the development out of the Ohio River flood plain. Next will be apartments, retail space and restaurants.

That is just one example of development along rivers going on in Ohio. Work is set to begin in Columbus on development along the Scioto River and plans in Cleveland have expanded for a project in a district along the Cuyahoga River.

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Development along rivers, particularly the Ohio River, is something that all communities along them consider. Ironton is no different and a lot of progress has been made on a roughly $5 million project that includes improvements in parking, streets and sidewalks along Bobby Bare Boulevard and the “Depot Square” area.

The overall project, developed by the Poggemeyer Design Group of Bowling Green, will include parking lot improvements, a sheltered passenger platform, a farmers market, perhaps a stage area and a bus system. But all of that starts with a makeover of the downtown district, which Mayor Rich Blankenship is trying to accomplish.

If Ironton’s downtown revitalization efforts are to come to fruition, then the city has to make improvements to downtown buildings, improve signage and pedestrian comforts and make the city more convenient — all of which were cited by the design group.

Blankenship’s recent actions to improve the downtown’s appearance have angered some who have been disaffected. But it is important to remember that his efforts are part of a plan that will one day lead to a ceremony of our own.