IRONTON, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The first shovel of dirt was turned Tuesday for a new development aimed at bringing growth to Ironton.
Tuesday afternoon, about 300 people attended the groundbreaking for a new 79-room Holiday Inn Express hotel and Frisch's Big Boy restaurant in Ironton.
The “Gateway Project” redevelopment project is located at 9th and Washington streets.
Phase 1 includes the hotel and restaurant.
Dr Bill Dingus with the Lawrence County Economic Development Authority says the development will fuel a better economy for the area.
"I think it's a spark, plus a great deal of fuel as well. When you think about the spark is there but you got to have fuel so it's all coming together. This is the catalyst that we need in Ironton to help us step up to the plate," Dingus said.
The hotel and restaurant are expected to bring at least 50 to 60 jobs to Ironton.
Officials say they are in discussions with two other restaurants.
Excavation work on the project is already underway with construction expected to begin next week.
Both businesses are expected to open by late summer
There are currently no hotels in downtown Ironton.