City leaders must think creatively

Published 9:31 am Thursday, August 16, 2012

With significant financial challenges still facing the city of Ironton, city leaders must think progressively and creatively about new ways to generate revenue and maintain services.

Mayor Rich Blankenship and the administration let a golden opportunity slip by and must be prepared for the next chance.

As hundreds and even thousands of people visit Ironton starting today for the Rally on the River there was a tremendous chance for the city itself to capitalize by taking advantage of public property.

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One prime example is the former Ironton Iron lot on Third Street. The city essentially has allowed a for-profit business to utilize the space for camping during the event. Although this business may not be charging and may even give the city a small donation, the reality is the city could have handled this itself and charged for camping.

Presuming the property can accommodate 150 spots, if the city would have charged $100 each, this would have generated $15,000. Truthfully there are likely more spots like that and there are other locations inside the city that could be used as well including the South Ironton Industrial Park.

Why shouldn’t the city use public property to generate funds to maintain public services?

Smart planning and a visionary approach on this could have generated more than $30,000. That could go a long way toward bringing back a laid-off employee, replacing aging equipment or injecting some much-needed revenue into a community project like the riverfront development project or the Ro-Na Theater revitalization.

City leaders have to begin to think proactively and look for creative ways to grow our city. This opportunity may have been missed but others will surely arise in the future.

Ironton must be willing and able to act.