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[Ironton] Looking up going into 2007

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I know I pick on Ironton a lot - it is full of abandonments (or was) and made for some good topics for my web-site, Abandoned, but it is looking up.

Ironton was once a very prosperous city, but hard times in the 1970s through the 1990s dealt a lot of issues for the city of just over 10,000. Many industries left or was forced to close, such as Alpha Portland Cement Company, Intermet, and numerous heavy industries. The downsizing of Armco Steel (which was bought by AK Steel and subsequently saved the plant from closing altogether), New Boston's industries, and the closure of the South Point Ethanol Plant (which has had a varied past) depressed the entire region.

Then the Ashland Town Center opened. The downtown in Ironton nearly died overnight. JCPenny moved out of its downtown location to the mall across the border, and many businesses struggled to just stay open. More and more bars in the region became decrepit and were not maintained and buildings were fast abandoned. The old movie theatere has been closed for quite some time, and the former Memorial Hall (then city hall) was shuttered. The Marting Hotel was empty and virtually no one lived in the central city.

But its now looking up at least. A former bar became CR Thomas - and when that closed last year due to the owner pilfering the business for all it was worth - it was renovated and is now Melini Cucina Italian Eatery (opened in November). See this before photo. The Marting Hotel was renovated into an affordable senior citizens complex and was spared demolition. The old industrial ruins that lined the main drag through the town were demolished and is slated for redevelopment. The old train depot, which once became an Italian eatery - had a new roof installed after many years of neglect. It is now slated for a restaurant. Streetscape improvements that included the construction of new sidewalks, pavement, lights and trees have beautified much of the center.

Hopefully going into 2007 we can see much improvement. From a city that was once on the verge of bankruptcy is now seeing some black fiscally. The redevelopment of old industrial sites will continue, along with the cleanup of many decrepit areas.

Photos will be coming soon!


"Melini Cucina Italian Eatery could open Monday. Or the Monday after Thanksgiving at the latest.

Melini has spent the past three months renovating the former CR Thomas Old Place on 124 S. Second St. All the old woodwork was refurbished and new woodwork, including wall panels, wine racks and an archway, were installed and stained. Flooring was taken down to the original concrete floor and then recovered with either tile or carpeting. The kitchen was cleaned and redesigned to Melini

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New restaurants come to Ironton

Two new restaurants are opening. March 12 is the opening date of Buffalo Wild Wings at part of the former Hill's Department Store off of State Route 93. The other is Austyn's, which will offer steaks, seafood, etc. in the old Train Depot (formerly home to a pizzeria then abandoned). This comes as Melini's, which opened after Thanksgiving, is seeing booming business.

Article information: "New restaurants come to Ironton, By David E. Malloy, The Herald-Dispatch, Thursday, March, 8, 2007"

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