Rotary Club renovating downtown fountain area

Published 9:48 am Monday, June 8, 2009

When the Rotary Club of Ironton says their motto, “service above self,” they mean it.

Whether it is buying dictionaries for third graders or sponsoring multiple scholarships each year, the community service based organization heavily invests in the community to help Ironton be a better place for its residents.

“Anyone that volunteers feels fulfilled in that we’re helping someone individually or helping the community,” said community service chair Rich Mountain. “I think anyone who volunteers in a civic organization is someone looking to do some good somewhere.”

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Their most recent project, is a renovation of the fountain area at Third and Center Streets downtown. This area, which will be renamed the Rotary Fountain, has suffered from the loss of industrial plants around Ironton which maintained the fountain in its early days.

“It has been an area that has been somewhat rejected over the years,” Mountain said. “Sometimes, things like that just happen.”

The Rotary club has begun a five-year beautification project that will renovate the fountain and the surrounding area while providing an enjoyable space for Ironton’s residents to visit.

So far, the Rotary has replaced the brick flooring of the area as well as plant flowers in flowerpots and hanging baskets.

They have also added a plastic lining over the fountain in order to clean up its appearance. The next step is to build a pergola, a type of trellis, over the area.

“It will give a shaded area for people to sit, to enjoy lunch, to watch the day go by and to read,” Mountain said.

The club has already invested several thousand dollars into the project and expects to invest several thousand more.

“We’ve taken this on not only as a project but as a continuing care taker,” Mountain said.

The Rotary will send people to the fountain at least once a week to clean up litter, but asks for fellow Ironton residents to participate in the overall maintenance.

“Help keep the place clean,” Mountain said. “Take some ownership in it.”

“Enjoy it,” said Rotary president Carl Darling.

Despite all the work the Rotary has put into the project, they have not done so alone. Ironton in Bloom has been a continuous source of landscaping advice and has helped in the maintenance of the new flowers.

“It really augments the Ironton in Bloom in generating more pride for the community,” Darling said.

Additionally, the city employees have been instrumental in the renovation.

“The city employees have been very cooperative,” Mountain said. “They’ve bent over backwards to help prepare for the project.”

Also, Doug Cade, of E.L. Robinson Engineering has donated countless hours toward offering advice and input, Mountain said.

Community members can be more involved with the project by offering suggestions for continuing the renovation.

The club is currently considering refurbishing the light fixtures as well as installing a spotlight for the American flag.

Overall, Mountain and Darling are happy with how the Rotary fountain has progressed so far.

“It’s gratifying to see that you made a difference in the community,” Darling said.