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Ironton Breaks Ground On "Gateway Center" Project

Reported by: Send eMail Darrah Wilcox
Web Producer: Darrah Wilcox
Reported: Nov. 19, 2013 5:36 PM EST
Updated: Nov. 20, 2013 12:42 PM EST

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City Revitalization
Eyewitness News Photo

Ironton , Lawrence County , Ohio

Jessica Williams has lived in Ironton for six years. She said she loves to see downtown development happening. "The past couple years Ironton has been doing really well with it," said Williams.

Tuesday, the economic front got even better for Ironton. With the flip of the shovel, ground was officially broken for a new facility that will be called "Gateway Center" right off the downtown Ironton exit of Route 52.

Mayor Rich Blankenship said the project has been in the works for years. "A lot of hard work and a lot of organization and individuals came together to make this project reality," said Blankenship.

The undeveloped land along Washington Street and 9th Street will soon be a Frisch's Big Boy restaurant and Holiday Inn Express and Suites. It's phase one of a redevelopment project by the city to revitalize six city blocks. "We're hoping this will spur the economic development in the local area here," said Blankenship.

The restaurant and hotel are expected to bring in more than 100 jobs and have an even deeper economic impact. John Hunter, director of construction and facilities for Frisch's Restaurants, said "It's not just the restaurant workers. It's the construction people. It's the people that deliver food, it's utility companies. Everybody is a win with this."

That includes the future customers. Williams said she can't wait till her nearly seven-month old baby will be old enough to enjoy the family-friendly restaurant. "It's absolutely a great location. It's just five minutes from our home and we can't wait to give our little one a big boy! So, we're really excited," she said.

Frisch's Big Boy is slated to open in spring, and Holiday Inn Express & Suites in summer.



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