Keeping working for riverfront

Published 11:09 am Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Ironton is the only city in the Tri-State not to have an upgraded riverfront. And that is costing the city much, especially the potential for an infusion of tourist dollars.

Huntington, West Virginia, and Ashland, Kentucky, have both boosted their cities by the transformations of their riverfronts. Right now, crowds are seen daily at Ashland’s to see the replicas of two of Christopher Columbus’ ships.

Ironton needs a modernized riverfront and was seeking it when the only construction bid came in over the project’s cost estimate. That is why Mayor Rich Blankenship should be commended that he is not giving up on the project, even though he has just a couple of weeks left in office and could have decided to do nothing.

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The original design included a dock for 33 boats, a sea wall and a sidewalk at the river’s edge. That plan, however, came in $57,000 more than what the city had to spend. Doesn’t sound like much for an $800,000 project, but was just more than the city had, despite Blankenship’s efforts to find the extra money.

Now the project has been scaled down, but not by much, and about to be rebid.

That is the right move.

The riverfront can provide much needed respite for Ironton residents to combat the stresses of everyday life. It can bring in sternwheelers for cruises up and down the Ohio River and historic replicas that will attract more tourists who will spend dollars in the city. It must be rebid. It must happen.

Blankenship is doing it right.