River dreams becoming real

Published 10:28 am Friday, April 17, 2009

The vision — or dream if you prefer — is a solid one that could pay dividends for Ironton’s future.

Open green space is inviting to visitors. Walking and bike trails promote activity amongst citizens. An amphitheater and stage area offers entertainment opportunities. Boats line a small marina, with boaters enjoying the scenery and cuisine of a small riverside restaurant.

That is the vision, one that is now closer to being a reality thanks to an assist from the state.

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City leaders recently learned Ironton was awarded approximately $280,000 in Clean Ohio funds for an environmental study that will help lead to the development of the riverfront area around Center Street Landing that is owned by the Ironton Port Authority.

We hope to see these efforts by the IPA and other leaders materialize and feel this is yet another step toward the rebuilding — and ultimately reimagining — of Ironton and how it serves as the Lawrence County government seat. Overall, if Ironton prospers, the county prospers.

These projects won’t happen overnight but IPA officials and economic development director Bill Dickens have worked on this for several years and have a solid plan in place for the revitalization of Ironton’s riverfront.

It will take time and patience but the results should truly be worth the wait.

Cincinnati and Covington, Ky., are two local examples of cities that do a good job of utilizing their riverfront.

Nothing says Ironton — and ultimately maybe Lawrence County as a whole — cannot do the same.

Every positive improvement within a community starts with a clear vision and then relies on focused and dedicated leadership to make it a reality.

So far, it looks like Ironton has that on this project.