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Riverfront strategy vital step

When it comes to Ironton’s future, developing its riverfront could be a crucial component of the city reaching its greatest potential.

The city has made positive strides towards this in recent years and a recent award of more than $625,000 — presuming the city comes up with its more than $200,000 in matching funds — is another tremendous step forward.

This money comes from a Boating Infrastructure Grant and would be used to add at least 10 mooring tie-ups for boaters, improve the boat ramp as well as add showers, restroom facilities, sidewalks and lighting.

These improvements would be a significant benefit to Lawrence Countians who want to enjoy the natural resource and beauty of the Ohio River. It could also pave the way for future retail and commercial development — something we believe is possible if the city creates and implements a long-term strategic plan for developing and maintaining this area.

City leaders have some conceptual drawings and a broad design they would like to implement along the banks of the Ohio at Center Street.

We urge Mayor Rich Blankenship and development leaders to formulate a detailed approach hitting on a variety of topics including what could be accomplished each year, what can be done to strengthen the assets already there, how can the city keep the area clean and what can be done to ensure this is a safe place that families want to visit.

Keeping the area trash-free and well policed have long been the biggest challenges. Some contend that these issues will be addressed after it is developed, but having a tangible plan in place now would likely help in those efforts.

The Ohio River was vital to the city’s past. It can be even more important to its future.