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Memorial Hall may be able to be saved

A key part of Ironton and Lawrence County’s past may have a viable role in its future after all.

That is a reasonable conclusion after the Lawrence County Commissioners received an estimate to renovate the historic Ironton Memorial Hall building for approximately $3.7 million, a figure that is nearly half of a prior estimate.

The aging structure has continued to decay in recent years with several efforts to restore or renovate it falling by the wayside. Now the county has an eye on it to potentially become its home for 911 and the emergency dispatch center.

The plan submitted by Mi-De-Con Inc., of Ironton would be to essentially turn the current building into a shell and build a new structure inside it, a smart approach that could make all the difference on determining the viability of saving the building.

We have long been skeptical of restoring Memorial Hall because of local government’s financial situation and the fact that the benefits did not appear to outweigh the costs.

That may have changed now.

The city and county should work together to have an outside party review the estimate to ensure it is doable. Then both governments have to cooperate to come up with a shared plan that makes it a true partnership.

Preserving the past is never worth mortgaging the future, but if the past can be a part of that future, every generation wins.