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DNA set for 2nd meeting

During the first Death to Negative Attitudes (DNA) meeting on Feb. 27 in Ironton, each person in attendance was asked to write suggestions for business enhancement, design and promotions on notecards.

The notecards were collected, reviewed and categorized. Now they will be discussed at the second DNA meeting 6 p.m. Thursday at the Ro-Na Theatre.

“The main goal this time is to narrow the ideas down and establish some items that can be accomplished,” Jon Ferguson, executive director of Ironton aLive, said. “We want to create some momentum with the group by achieving some small successes, and possibly setting some intermediate and long-term goals to accomplish. A lot of great ideas were given, we just need to begin the action portion now.”

Ideas submitted via notecards for business enhancement included tax cuts for new businesses, longer operating hours for current businesses, impose a penalty for empty commercial space, devise a marketing plan to shop locally, develop “shop here” maps and develop a progressive lease agreement plan.

Design suggestions included signage so tourist could easily find where things are located, development and re-development of the museum, riverfront, Ro-Na, courthouse and city center, place signs on churches, homes and other buildings in the historical district, more stringent enforcement of the city’s property maintenance ordinance, utilize the Ohio University Southern TV channel to promote local businesses and update current downtown street signs.

Promotion suggestions included and outdoor amphitheater, bringing back Oktoberfest, a music and comedy open mic night at the Ro-Na, a “Run This Town” 5K run/walk to support the community, monthly car shows, a boys and girls club, walking paths and trails, bicycle lanes, parks with amenities other than playground equipment such as a climbing wall, create an electronic press kit to promote Ironton to other communities, downtown business-sponsored exercise stations along a fitness path and promoting the benefits of local shopping.

“I have seen more good things happen in Ironton the past five years than in the past five decades,” Joe Unger, owner of Unger’s Shoes in downtown Ironton, said. “A renaissance of thought and action is taking place.”

Corbin Ramey is a new — and the youngest — addition to the growing number of people who support revitalization in Ironton and the creator of the Facebook page “Ironton Hot Sheets” that serves a forum for positivity and promotion.

“For those of you who are on the fence about coming, look at it like this,” Ramey said about the DNA meeting. “You have an opportunity to come inside the Ro-Na and see all the good work that’s been done and you’ll get to see all the people who truly care about Ironton and are tired of negative attitudes towards it.”

Ironton native Cibilia Walker, who now lives in Washington, D.C., said although she no longer lives in Ironton, “it is my hometown and I love what (Ironton aLive is) doing.”

Ferguson said the plan of action is “continuing to overcome the negative attitudes we all know still exist.”