Ironton pushes downtown development ahead of Memorial Day Parade


IRONTON, OHIO (WOWK) — Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner and one city in the Buckeye State is preparing to welcome people back to an improved downtown area.

The goal is having it ready to go for the city’s Memorial Day activities.

“Ironton, as part of it’s downtown revitalization plan which its been working on since the early 1980s, has been making it more people, pedestrian friendly, re-inventing itself,” says Ralph Kline, assistant executive director of the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization.

The latest efforts to meet this goal center around the Downtown Friends Splash Park.

The Downtown Friends Splash Park is set to reopen by Memorial Day. (Photo Courtesy: 13 News Photojournalist Chris Holtzapfel)

The city has already improved its look with new shrubs and flowers—and now, there’s another draw:

Shrubs and flowers have been planted all around the city of Ironton already. (Photo Courtesy: 13 News Photojournalist Chris Holtzapfel)

“This year we have a real opportunity because we have a new business—one that everybody here locally knows—the ‘Shake Shoppe’ is going to be expanding into a small operation here,” Kline says. The new storefront will be called ‘The Shakery,’ and will be housed right next to the splash park.

But wait! As they say—there’s more!

“The caboose is going to be outfitted inside so that you can have parties in there. There will be some tables sitting around, another picnic shelter will be built,” says Sam Heighton, executive director of Ironton aLive.

The caboose will be fashioned into a party rental space. (Photo Courtesy: 13 News Photojournalist Chris Holtzapfel)

In addition to those construction projects:

“Friends of Ironton has a miniature train that they’ll be able to set up and run there,” Kline says.

A sketched plan of the improvements downtown. (Image courtesy of the City of Ironton)

Locals say they are behind the improvements.

“They’re bringing all this other [stuff] in, a lot of people’s really looking forward to it, and they’re excited you know to bring more stuff back to Ironton!” says Tammy Hanshaw, a vendor at the Ironton Farmer’s Market.

“We lost our pool here in Ironton so there’s not a lot for kids to do. So it’ll be great,” says Ironton local Cindy Rudmann.

The big question now?

“What time’s it gonna be opened?” asks Ironton local Trey Medcalf.

“Well the crunch timeline is of course Memorial Day, you know splash park opens up and you see they got it ready here just the other day,” Kline says.

All the renewal projects are expected to be completed by the end of the summer.

If you would like to get involved with some of these improvements, contact the Ironton mayor’s office at (740) 532-3833, or visit the city’s website here.

For more information on Ironton In Bloom, visit their website here.

For more information on Ironton aLive, visit their website here.

For more information on Friends of Ironton, visit their Facebook page here.

For more information about the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization, visit their website here.

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