Creating new organization will not address needs

Published 7:37 am Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Come on people! Ironton does not need a “new” Ironton Business Association (IBA)! What the city needs is to have Ironton aLive (IaL) fulfill its mission.

I was one of the first members of IaL and chairperson of the promotions committee. This means that I have plenty of first-hand experience and insider knowledge about the organization. Due to the inability to accomplish our core missions, I resigned in disgust.

A senior member of the IaL leadership team told me that my problem was that I wanted to get something down. Take a hard look at IaL’s accomplishments, and you’ll discover that not much has been achieved.

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Here’s statements from the Ironton aLive website: “The business enhancement committee involves marketing the downtown’s unique characteristics to shoppers, investors, new businesses, tourists, and others. Effective promotion creates a positive image of the downtown through retail promotional activity, utilizing the downtown as a stage area of community activities.”

The mission of the promotion’s committee: “Involves strengthening the existing economic base of the downtown while diversifying it. Business enhancement activities include helping existing downtown businesses, recruiting new businesses, providing a balanced mix, converting unused space into productive property, and sharpening the competitiveness of downtown merchants.”

Sure sounds like the functions of the “new” organization that they’re advocating. Why are they pushing for this action? My bet is that their external funding has ended or soon will be.

This current proposal will result in the recycling of this old verbiage and just a rebranding.

Regardless, it will be the same people, new name, same results-nothing accomplished.

What is needed is a pruning of the deadwood and a complete reorganization of IaL. New people with forward thinking vision are required. Action-oriented, results-driven members are required.

Call it IaL, the IBA or whatever, but if the same core leadership group that exists today continues to govern and/or advise, then it is set up to fail.

Ironton can recover, but it will not be the old Ironton. The dream of the downtowns of last century are just that. Dreams!  A 21st century model needs to be embraced. I shared this frequently at IaL meetings.

There are success stories all around the country. We need to look at these communities and borrow from their successes.

Another requirement to move Ironton forward is that as a community we need to come together and work jointly for the good of Ironton. The petty jealousy between various organizations needs to stop. Everyone must work for the one goal of making Ironton a better place to live, work, shop, dine, play and enjoy!

Steve Call