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Rotary project improves Third Street fountain

With the help of an Ironton civic club, a once-neglected area of town has a whole new life.

The Ironton Rotary Club is two years into a five-year beautification project at the fountain area at Third and Center streets in downtown Ironton. Besides cleaning the bricks in the fountain, the club has added a 20 by 32 feet arbor as well as potted flowers and benches.

Rich Mountain, community service chair for the club, is heading up the project.

“We do this for the same reason we stop and help someone change a tire, to help our fellow man,” Mountain said.

The project began as a partnership with Ironton in Bloom. Rotary Club had committed to purchasing flowers for the area.

That was when the club realized it is an area it could improve.

“The club took it on as a community service project,” Joe Jenkins, current Rotary president, said. “Rotary is all about service above self in our community and internationally.”

The arbor is about 75 percent complete, Mountain said. He plans to add some molding and a bench. The club committed to spending $2,000 each year beginning in 2008 for the project.

“There’s a lot of potential for people to utilize it,” Mountain said. He added that the area could be used for art exhibits, cookouts, gospel sings and other events.

“Everybody loves water,” he said. ‘Whether it’s the ocean, the river or the fountain.”

Mountain said he hopes that after the club has spent the money on the project, it will hear positive feedback so the club can continue to make improvements to the area.

He added that several civic organizations in the city are working on positive projects just like this one.

Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship agreed.

“I appreciate the efforts that the Rotary Club has put in this project,” Blankenship said. “It’s not often you have people take their time like that (for a service project) but Ironton is fortunate, we have several groups.”