By Portia Williams
IRONTON – Although construction of the Gateway Center was stifled by inclement weather during the winter months, Dr. Bill Dingus, executive director of Lawrence Economic Development Corporation said the project is still moving forward. The Gateway Center will include a Holiday Inn and Suites and Frisch’s Big Boy restaurant.
Inclement weather during the winter months caused a delay in construction of the Gateway Center project, but according to Dr. Bill Dingus, they are making up for lost time.
“It is moving well. Both projects are on the new schedule. We got behind schedule because of the terrible winter, but they are catching up. The new Holiday Inn and Suites will open in September, and they Frisch’s Big Boy is scheduled for August 11th, I believe,” Dingus said.
The Gateway Center will be located in Downtown Ironton, just off U.S. 52. He said the hiring process for the Gateway Center will begin soon.
“They will start interviewing people this month and next month, to start identifying staff. We are very pleased with it. We currently have two other businesses looking to go into the new Gateway Center and the infrastructure is pretty much well in. Most of the areas have been fully developed. With ODOT’s assistance, we were able to get all of the vegetation and trees removed along the highway, which enhances the visibility. ODOT is looking at trying to enhance the access ways of getting in and getting out,” he said.
He said the new center serves as catalyst for growth and development for Ironton.
“We believe it is a catalyst for many good things yet to come in the Ironton community. We feel good about it. It is a project fully done with private sector investment,” he said.
He said the construction of the Holiday Inn and Frisch’s Big Boy will provide more than 80 jobs for Lawrence County.
“It will provide growth opportunities. It will serve well as another node in the network of convention visitor travel throughout the state, linking with Scioto County, and Lawrence County and Jackson County,” he said.
The new hotel will bring 25 new jobs to the area. The restaurant will also bring 100 jobs to Lawrence County.
“It is quite a positive move for Ironton. It’s just a great project, another step for Ironton as a whole. Things are happening in Ironton, ” he said.
Portia Williams can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.