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Mayor: Hotel is priority

IRONTON — Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship has set his administration on a path toward economic redevelopment by laying out clear objectives he wants to reach.

Among those is building a motel or hotel to accommodate the area’s guests while boosting tourism and consumerism throughout Ironton.

According to Bill Dickens, the city’s economic development director, Ironton was able to obtain a permit a year ago to build a 70-unit motel in Ironton. However, the project stopped when the economy took its turn for the worst.

Now, Dickens said that it is necessary for the project to get back on track.

So far, he has been able to find several assistants in this matter.

“We’ve got a couple local real estate brokers working with us to bring a motel here, as well as some national real estate agents,” he said. “There is an unquestionable need for at least a 90 room hotel.”

This need comes from the tourism industry, which, according to Ironton claims specialist and former secretary to the Mayor, Katrina Keith, is going up in Ironton.

She said that Ironton attracts visitors because of the special events that happen around the city including the Gus Macker tournament, Rally on the River, and — the Memorial Day parade.

“The addition of the events bring more people to the area,” Blankenship said. He also said that the tourism industry was not negatively affected in Ironton as it was in the rest of the country.

“I think Ironton has not been hit as hard as the general economy because we’re building up and not experiencing the high market loss,” he said.

Blankenship has talked to local hotel owners to attempt to interest them in an Ironton location.

So far nothing has happened.

“His team is working with him in his direction, bringing resources together to make a difference for the people,” Keith said. “It’s not just for us.”

Blankenship said that he and his administration is doing all they can to get this project jumpstarted once again.