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Civic pride takes nurturing like flowers

Like most major changes in life, injecting a renewed sense of pride into Ironton started simply with a “seed.”

Fittingly, that “seed” was for a program called Ironton in Bloom that focused on beautification of the community.

That figurative seed, planted when a few community members made a bus trip to Gallipolis to see what that little Ohio River town had been able to accomplish, was an idea that has blossomed into a renewed focus on civic pride and passion for making the Ironton area look good.

While naysayers point out that flowers won’t hide the city’s blemishes, those people are missing the point.

This is just the launching pad that has — and will continue to — lead to other steps to enforce the city laws, renovate blighted property and instill a year-round sense of caring. Ironton isn’t there yet but it seems to be headed in the right direction for the first time in years.

And just like the flowers that the volunteer organization planted throughout the community, this program needs a little watering — in the form of community participation and a little sweat equity.

In preparation for the America in Bloom judges’ visit, the local organization is getting ready to roll out the red carpet and everyone can help.

Now is time to clean up the community and show these judges what makes southern Ohio so special.

And it will start with The Ironton Tribune.

This emphasis on community pride and putting our best foot forward has pushed me to evaluate the appearance of our building as well.

Sadly, this look inward has shown that we need to do a better job of leading by example. Wilting lilies, flower beds getting overrun by weeds and trees that need a good trimming are a few of the things that had gone somewhat unnoticed during a lawn care transition.

The Tribune will get a full landscaping facelift in July as part of our efforts to be good community citizens.

We hope other Ironton-area businesses will do the same and take a long, hard look at what their property looks like.

The same goes for citizens. I will be the first to admit that the yard at my 6th Street home needs some attention. There has never been a better time to start, so feel free to honk if you see me whipping it into shape today.

Or, maybe your property is in good shape. That’s OK, come help Ironton in Bloom volunteers with a downtown cleanup Wednesday.

We need all the help we can get. Volunteers hope to get started around 6 p.m. and go until the sun drops over the hill.

All you need are gloves, any gardening tools you have on hand and a passion to see the city shine.

As part of the reward for this hard work, and as a thank you to all those who supported the project, IIB will host a Community Picnic from 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Friday, at The Depot Square on Second Street to celebrate the 1st year of success.

The America in Bloom judges will offer a top to bottom analysis of the city. What does Ironton do right? What does it need to improve upon? How should the community market itself?

Getting this information from an outside, impartial source will be a valuable tool in the city’s gardening shed.

The seeds have been planted. Now it is up to the community to make sure this project grows into more improvements that will make the city a better place to live, work and play.

Pride in the city we call home can be as beautiful as any flower but it takes the same level of TLC to make it fully bloom.

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