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Our ‘garden’ is growing stronger than ever

In response to Billy Bruce’s column this past Sunday, may I offer that there have always been weeds, but there will always be weed whackers of which our town has a multitude!

I am a gardener and I know a great deal about weeds. Unless controlled, they can take over the garden, the sidewalks, and, as Billy Bruce suggested, clog and destroy community development.

We will always have among us apathetic gardeners (citizens) who allow the weeds to grow unchecked.

It has been my observation that this no longer describes Ironton and Lawrence County, even though we are living through the greatest economic recession experienced since the 1930s.

The newly formed Young Professional organization raised $40,000 and delivered Christmas gifts and food baskets to families through Lawrence County.

Friends of Ironton are creating a water park and the city of Ironton is building a skate park for the youth. Ironton Rotary Club is creating a lovely pocket park surrounding the fountain downtown.

The Joan Slagel memorial created and maintains a beautiful rose garden at the far side of the park. $34,000 was raised in 2009 to beautify our downtown and city entrances under the leadership of Ironton in Bloom.

The Ironton Child Welfare and Cooperative Club donated over $4,000 to support the education of our youth.

The First Baptist Church opened the doors of the Faith and Fitness Center to the entire community, and the Lutheran church passed out hundreds of school backpacks in August and boxes of food in December.

Ironton children are attending a new elementary and middle school and the high school will open in September. The number of entering OUS freshmen continues to climb.

The Ro-Na and Memorial Hall Veteran projects are building solid support. Hundreds of visitors came to participate in the Gus Macker 3 on 3 basketball tournament, the Rally on the River, the Lion’s Club Haunted Tunnel, and the Ironton Basketball Classic.

The Ironton Port Authority, a volunteer group, works hand in hand with our city government, the LEDC, the CAO, and the Lawrence County Port authority to bring new businesses to our county and the Tri-State.

Sixty-five new business entities joined the Chamber of Commerce.

In May, over 1,000 individuals participated in our largest county-wide clean-up with tons of weeds and trash removed.

There have been two major county-wide tire removal programs in 2009 and a toxic waste clean-up in September.

Who is making all of this happen? People, a.k.a., weed whackers — lots of people — singularly and in groups.

Yes, weeds still grow but I beg to differ with anyone who says they are taking over.

Many of us gardeners, i.e., citizens, have quit blaming others, fighting among ourselves and sitting back while others push their self-interests to the fore.

Citizens of Ironton and Lawrence County are stepping up to the plate to solve our social and economic problems and to create a community that will sustain us. The results can be seen everywhere.

Carol Allen

Ironton