Business proof old can be new

Published 9:59 am Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ironton’s newest business is a perfect example of how building on the city’s past can create a strong foundation for its future.

The 100-year-old former St. Lawrence O’Toole school has been renovated into Close to Home III, an assisted-living facility. This takes a long vacant building that has some nostalgic significance for the city and converts it for a modern use.

It also fills a need in providing housing for senior citizens and those seeking assisted care.

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Developers pulled out all the stops renovating this facility. The state-of-the-art building offers top-of-the-line amenities for those who will call it home.

Features include a chapel, a movie house, spacious living quarters, gathering rooms and much more.

But a variety of features from the old building have been incorporated into the new look.

This approach of building on the past would serve the city well as it looks at renovating and restoring the rest of downtown.

Far too often, we are quick to just simply toss aside buildings of the past instead of looking how they can be utilized today.

The urban renewal program of the 19th Century may have done as much damage as it did good in some communities. Ironton is a good example of that because it essentially wiped away decades of history and heritage only to replace it with parking lots and vacant buildings.

We applaud the developers of Close to Home to for their vision and tenacity in making this idea come to fruition, a process that took several years and had many hurdles to be overcome.

They have created a blueprint to show others how to approach development without forsaking the past just to look towards the future.