Riverfront can be vital to city’s growth

Published 10:25 am Thursday, October 27, 2011

The city of Ironton is moving forward with its plans to develop Center Street Landing and the Ohio River shoreline for economic development and recreational opportunities.

This is a good move — as long as the city comes up with a clear plan to make the area safe, family-friendly and visually attractive.

We’ve long supported this project and think that walking and bicycle trails, as well as prep work that could open the door to commercial development, are all solid steps toward building a strong foundation for development of a part of the city and county we have long felt was under-utilized.

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Ironton officials and Mayor Rich Blankenship have done a great job of seeking grant funds to pay for these early steps.

However, and not to sound like a broken record, but none of this will mean anything unless the city creates a clear plan to provide security and a police presence along the area.

The argument has always been that of the “chicken or egg scenario.” Some city officials have said that once it has become an attraction, it will then be policed. We counter that if it is policed, it will become an attraction.

The Ohio River remains an integral part of Lawrence County, Ironton and the entire Tri-State.

Its riverfront can be utilized in a myriad of ways and serve as a tremendous recreational and economic resource. But we must be ready to protect the investments and make smart progress.