City on road to recovery

Published 9:56 am Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Twenty years ago Ironton was just a shell of its onetime glorious, prosperous self.

Once the city was a destination, touting a number of industrial leaders who made millions for themselves and created a high standard of living for themselves and others. But with factory after factory closing down and stores going out of business, there was nothing to bring people into Ironton, unless they lived here.

All of sudden, things are changing. Slowly, but still changing. That is thanks to economic development leaders like Dr. Bill Dingus of the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation and Ralph Kline of the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization. They and others like them have formed informal coalitions that are dedicated to bringing businesses and upscale amenities back to the city.

Email newsletter signup

Almost two years ago Ironton finally got a hotel, something that had been talked about for decades. And Frisch’s came back to the city. And other fine dining places. So much so, that it can be hard to find a place to park in the evenings.

And there is more coming from another specialty restaurant to possible high-end housing.

These things make businesses more willing to move here because the quality of life is better.

However, Ironton still hasn’t gotten a hold of the tourist trade. Except for one-time events like Gus Macker and Rally on the River, there is nothing to draw traffic into the city.

Travel guru Steve Call has rightly said there must be an attraction to bring tourists to the city on a continual basis.

While more businesses mean more jobs and more prosperity, the advantage of tourism cannot be overlooked. So those working to revive Ironton need to address this aspect as well.