Event aims to increase recreation in county

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2023

A two-day event, organized by the Lawrence County Convention and Visitors Bureau earlier this month, was geared toward boosting the economy of Lawrence County through recreation opportunities.

Marty Conley, of the CVB, said the Recreation Economy for Rural Communities event, which took place at the Ro-Na Theater in Ironton on May 24-25, brought together federal and state partners to come up with ideas to promote what is in the county, as well as secure funding for solutions to existing problems.

For instance, Conley said they took the partners on a tour of 25 boat access points in the county, to see what is needed with them.

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“You really need to work to put a boat in the water in Lawrence County,” he said.

He said another possibility exists with Wayne National Forest and tourism.

“There are big opportunities there,” he said. “And how do we increase our economy?”

Conley said the first part of the event was taking the partners to tour sites, while the second part was spent on brainstorming solutions and hearing concerns.

Conley said he applied for a grant and Lawrence County was one of 25 selected nationally for it, a major coup for the county.

He said 60 people attended the event, which included local businesses such as Elkins Creek Horse Camp, nonprofits, such as Symmes Creek Restoration Committee and Third and Center, federal agencies, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and local government officials, such as Lawrence County Commissioner Mike Finley and South Point Mayor Jeff Gaskin.

“We had a great group and we are pleased with the numbers,” he said. “People were excited to learn about things.”

Going forward, Conley said there would next be three conference calls with the partners, in which all attendees were invited to take part. Then they will come up with a plan of action.

“And, when it comes time for funding, we’ll have that part done,” he said. “And our federal and state contact, will have been here before. Our partners know who Lawrence County is and that we have a lot of recreation to offer.