Riverfront vital to city#8217;s future

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 2, 2008

Some people would call it fitting irony that something called “dead men” may help breathe new life into Ironton’s riverfront.

“Dead men” are actually the six 3,300-pound concrete blocks that were buried in the ground at Center Street Landing and attached to heavy chains that can be used to allow riverboats like the Delta Queen and Belle to dock in Ironton.

The project — which was made possible in part by donations from Pickett Concrete, McGinnis Inc., and Hunley Bobcat Services — and the work to structurally support the shoreline with large rocks is another step forward for the city and may just be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the riverfront’s potential.

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City officials and the Ironton Port Authority are developing a strong vision for the city’s land that fronts the Ohio River, a vision that could one day include a permanent boat mooring system, a fully developed park and at least one more restaurant.

Coming on the heels of the recent improvements to the riverfront access, all these are steps in the right direction and could pay dividends in terms of the city’s — and ultimately the county’s — economic development.

Looking at cities like Cincinnati and Newport, Ky., the riverfront has become a vital part of their communities and features many of the area attractions. While Ironton may not have as much available land, it can certainly make the best use of what it has and work toward making the rest of it more marketable.

In addition to developing these new riverfront attributes, we urge city leaders to sit down and outline a clear plan to take care of what is already there.

We would like to see the train caboose refinished, the murals touched up and strong police enforcement that will make this area once again appealing to families.

The Ohio River has always been the lifeblood of the region. Soon, the riverfront could be just as sustaining.