Money determines bridge project
Within the span of the last decade, the city of Ironton has seen some changes. The St. Mary’s Campus on Route 141, the newly built schools, the Gateway Centre and the bridge that is under current construction are showing much progress in a town that has seen its share of hard times.
But I have always noticed that while our city has great people with great ideas, I think our biggest downfall is that we don’t have ideas that are “outside the box” or are realistic things that may be achieved.
One of these examples I’d like to touch on deals with the situation surrounding the current Ironton Bridge. There has been a movement to save it for the use of a pedestrian bridge and it’s not a bad idea on the surface. It has been a part of this community for nearly a century, but while I like the idea, I have to think rationally and realistically.
When the state decommissions the bridge, who will continue the upkeep? The city sure can’t shoulder the cost. Our city already faces too many challenges with a small tax base and a few resources. A private entity would be a great idea, but there is no one with the money or resources to step up and finance the project.
It’s simply not a realistic goal. We as a community should look for better ideas but be practical as well.
My suggestion is to use parts of the bridge for aesthetic purposes with the intent of acknowledging its historical significance in the early days of the city. Ideas can range from using an archway off of the middle section of the bridge for a distinctive entrance off the new bridge to just a simple sculpted design and placed at the fountain downtown.
However, whatever the project may be, it will rest on how much money is raised to make it possible.
In my opinion, I believe it is a great way to keep some sort of historic aspect of the old bridge and preserve it as a part of our city for years to come. And with the price of scrap metal and iron being as low as it’s ever been, this is realistic goal that even our city officials would get behind.
Our city has historically been ahead of the curve when it came to being innovative, just look at the old bridge itself and many historical buildings around town. We must not sell ourselves short of looking for fresh and creative ideas to make our city stand out.