We can make Ironton a destination

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 5, 2012

Not that he has an attitude problem, but Steve Call likes telling people where they can go.

Now, the man often called the “Travel Professor,” is instead focusing on how to bring people here.

Most people are familiar with the Ohio University Southern travel and tourism teacher who offers tips and advice on vacation hot spots and the best ways to get there.

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But Call is also one of the driving forces of an ongoing project to create a walking tour of the City of Ironton and its historic residential district.

The goal is to create a tourist destination and help visitors get the most out of their trip to Ironton.

“The idea is to just get something out there and drive people into town,” he said. “… We want people to be able to see the history, support the local merchants and restaurants, enjoy what Ironton In Bloom has done in the summer and more.”

Although still only in the planning stages, Call has the right idea to address the massively under-utilized potential of Ironton and Lawrence County as a tourist destination.

There are towns all across America that have less to offer but see far more benefit. That simply comes down to the fact that Ironton has never really had a good plan in place and has done little to play to its strengths.

Call plans to work with his colleague, Dr. Dave Lucas, who recently partnered with Chesapeake High School students to create part of a tour, and other community groups to make this happen.

Essentially visitors could use an interactive map that offers photographs, narratives and information about each location.

This would give people the ability to access the information at their convenience and learn about some of the things that makes our region special.

Other tours could be added to feature topics like the Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade route, Woodland Cemetery, the annual church walk or Lake Vesuvius.

Far too often the naysayers in our community want to shoot down the idea that people will come to Ironton if they are given a reason.

“I have often called it the ‘we ain’t got nothing mentality,’” Call said. “I think there needs to be some attitude adjustments and education to point out what we do have.”

Ironton has a lot. And it is time we use 21st Century technology to let everyone know about it.


Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at mike.caldwell@irontontribune.com.