• 46°

Bravo Ironton for progress

Ironton used to be home a decade or two ago. Living there was a wonderful experience, but the evidence of economic change was quite apparent in the declining population and abandoned workplaces. I recall the gloom when the River Valley/Lawrence County General Hospital suffered a painful death.

However, when I returned to Ironton in October of 2015, for a homecoming event at the Ironton First Church of the Nazarene, I was surprised at the growth that I saw happening.

Instead of major employers fleeing the city, new jobs and businesses were springing up. During my weekend trip, I had a Brawny Lad platter at Frisch’s Big Boy. Now that’s a genuine treat for this Kansas resident. I slept well at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites. As a frequent traveler, this was my 42nd night in a Holiday Inn in 2015, but this was one of the nicest I’ve stayed in.

I drove by a new St. Mary’s Medical Center campus and saw the helipad and a beautiful Fruth Pharmacy building. I understand the health center was responsible for the creation of 100 new jobs.

But the construction of the Ironton-Russell Bridge, an impressive new structure, was the biggest of the “wow factors” from this visit.

I’m going to need to see it again, once completed.

I was amazed how different the town looked and, in one short visit, was able to see that these changes were purposeful, not coincidental.

Great job, Ironton. Many of us knew that the Ohio River valley is one of the Lord’s best creations and filled with many of his finest people. As a community you are demonstrating the difficulties can be overcome and that the best days for Ironton are the days ahead.

 

Mark Lail

Executive vice president of the Church of the Nazarene Foundation, former pastor of Ironton First Church of the Nazarene (2000-2003)