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City hears residents’ wishes through survey

For months, the mayor of Ironton and its city council have been talking about a survey to determine how the citizens want to direct the town’s redevelopment.

And now some results are in.

Mayor Katrina Keith said that since the city doesn’t have an economic development person, she formed an economic committee, which includes people from the Port Authority, the Lawrence County Economic Development Corp., Ironton aLive, Ironton  In Bloom, the Lawrence County Commissioners, the CAO’s Community Development department and the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“We put this team together to talk about economic development for Ironton and what would suit Ironton,” Keith explained. “It is one thing for us to understand, but we want to know what the people want, what would they support. So we put out a survey.”

The online survey was done through surveymonkey.com and got 268 results.

To clarify matters, the survey included demographic information like whether they live in Ironton or not, age, household income, employment status, what part of Ironton they live in and whether they work in Ironton.

“We need to know where they are from, if they live in town or do they just visit,” Keith said.

One question was what businesses would be the best fit for Ironton: increased commercial or retail businesses, industrial manufacturing, technology business, additional service businesses or recreational support businesses since the city is so close to Wayne National Forest and the Ohio River.

“The biggest one was increased commercial, people want to shop and eat at restaurants,” Keith said. “So, we’re wondering if Ironton needs to be a destination place. We have Wayne National Forest and the river. We are a sports town; people tend to forget that we have Tanks Stadium, one of the original NFL teams in Ironton history. Why not capitalize on these things?”

The next question was on the type of housing people want: condominiums, lofts, apartments or suburban-new single-family homes.

The answer for that was new single-family homes.

“That answer was glaring like a neon sign,” Keith said.

The next question was how often do they shop in Ironton and the most popular answer was more than once a week.

“That is encouraging,” Keith said. “I know we don’t have a whole lot here but we do, are we shopping here or are we running across the bridge. Because those dollars go into Kentucky and they don’t come back to Ohio.”

As for what type of business the survey takers would support the most, it was restaurants.

“We Irontonians like to eat,” Keith said with a laugh. “But second was outdoor recreation, so there is that WNF and the Ohio River.”

Keith said that the survey results echo what she had thought that people wanted in Ironton.

“I was kind of excited to see that,” she said.

Other things that people want to see include a theater, more shops, light shopping and recreation on the riverfront while keeping Ironton’s small town charm.

Keith said she likes the direction that this survey gives them.

“I think these are all goals we can work towards,” she said.

For those who would like to take the survey, it is available in printed form at the mayor’s office on the third floor of the Ironton City Center.