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Wednesday, Apr. 23, 2014

Greene County a vacation destination? Work underway to attract visitors

Posted Friday, April 3, 2009, at 2:39 PM

Are you or your friends or relatives planning a vacation or weekend getaway this summer?

Has the economy got you down and are you looking for an alternative to motoring off to some high-prized tourist attraction miles away where you are sure to drop a lot of cash?

Well, the answer might be right here in your own backyard.

Have you visited the Old Tobacco Barn and Sculpture Trails in eastern Greene County?

Have you ever viewed the engineering marvel of its time the Tulip Viaduct (Trestle) or driven across the historic covered bridge south of Bloomfield?

Nearly every city, town or village in this very large county has something historic or unusual that can be a potential tourist attraction.

How about spending a day at Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area, Shakamak State Park near Jasonville, or the Greene-Sullivan State Forest as well as public access areas along the White River that offer plenty of fishing, hunting and recreational opportunities?

For those more adventuresome, try out the Redbird State Riding Area, located just a couple miles west of the Greene County line. It's a state-of-the-art SUV, truck and Jeep riding area that is gaining a national reputation.

For a great and relaxing time, why not climb in your car, SUV or truck or maybe jump on your motorcycle and take a drive from one end of this county to another?

Really, there are plenty of things to see.

The backroad trip is an added bonus in the autumn months when the trees are painted in a rainbow of colors -- drive through American Bottoms and over the hilly terrain in the eastern part of the county, it's beautiful.

Too often we fail to see what we have to offer right here in Greene County in terms of beautiful and historic tourist attractions.

A group of individuals have been meeting periodically for the last year brainstorming about ideas to enhance Greene County as tourist destination -- which would be good for the local economy.

A lot of work has been done and more is on the drawing board to promote Greene County as a place where tourist will want to converge.

About 5,000 brochures were printed last August that was the work of a diverse group of residents who hailed from all parts of the county under the guidance of the Greene County Chamber Coalition. The group assembled periodically for several months and came up with a final design. They gleaned information from several area sources -- including tourism projects that were completed by Greene County Citizens Academy small group members in 2006 and 2007.

The brochure, which was paid for by a generous donation from Duke Energy Indiana, will require some minor modifications and updating before it's going to be distributed at interstate rest stops and other locations throughout the state.

That work has already started.

Thursday night, David Benefiel moderated a tourism workshop at the Greene County Economic Development office at MainSource Bank in Linton.

A couple dozen volunteers showed up to offer to help.

They've formed some sub-groups to focus on marketing, local commodities and destinations.

More help is needed from additional volunteers to make this a success.

An organized, coordinated tourism effort is needed with everybody on the same page and working for a common goal.

Several other problem areas were quickly identified -- a lack of money, no marketing plan, few locations for lodging, a lack of signage, as well as support from the community and its residents needs to improve.

Groups have organized from time to time in the past decade or so, but dissolved after a period because the enthusiasm dwindled, the volunteers stepped back and the ideas laid out on the table soon became just dreams.

I believe there has to be a committed mindset that tourism can work and be a viable economic commodity in Greene County.

We have to put our visions into action.

We have to view our communities and what we have to offer from the eyes of an outsider looking in.

What does Greene County have to offer? Do I want to travel there? What will I do when I get there?

The tourism group needs more warm bodies and ideas from people who live in every part of the county.

Greene County as a whole stands to benefit when tourists start flocking to our community for some rest, relaxation and a place to have fun.

The group's next meeting will be May 14 from 5-6 p.m. at MainSource Bank in Linton.

The group and your community needs and welcomes your help and ideas. Don't be afraid to go outside the box and dream a little bit.

Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487 or by e-mail at schneider.nick@gmail.com or nschneider@gcdailyworld.com .

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

tell them to bring their tow truck if they are going to come to the western side of the county, these roads should have been paved or at least chip & seal years ago, like most other countys and the east side of white river

-- Posted by bassman on Fri, Apr 3, 2009, at 5:14 PM

Wow! Negativity!

Always a benefit when you are trying to make difference.

I was just in Gatlinburg last week and many of the thoughts that I had while driving around that area were centered around what Greene County had to offer that was similar to this and why did a small community such as a Gatlinburg or even Nashville, IN have success.

My thoughts always came back to the awesome natural beauty of the area. Please correct me if I am wrong here, but there are many wonderful areas within the County that harbor the natural beauty needed to draw tourism.

I understand, and agree for the most part, that our backroads areas could benefit from some clean-up and our roads could use the needed repairs, but how do you justify paying for those repairs and clean-up on roads that only a small percentage of people travel?

Give people a reason to get off the beaten path and they will travel here to do it.

Ideas that I have had are placing points of interest, like fall colors viewing areas, on a mapped route with gps waypoints (or google earth etc.) On and On...

The one thing that hinders the area a bit is lodging. Anyone looking to start a Bed and Breakfast?

My wife has passed on a good bit of advice to me from time to time that goes something like this (but much more eloquently I am sure)...

When you make a goal, do something everyday, to achieve that goal!

Achieveing it does not include conveying negativism or sitting around brainstorming reasons why you cannot or should not do it.

-- Posted by Indymac4 on Mon, Apr 6, 2009, at 3:04 PM

The last time I checked, county's weren't allowed to use road and street or dilapidated housing money for tourism. So it's not a fair comparison.

-- Posted by Wordmaster on Mon, Apr 6, 2009, at 5:50 PM

Another view on fixing the roads would be that if you fix them, the people we want to slow down and enjoy our wonderful sites, attractions, and beautiful landscape as well as spend money in our communities, would drive through it too fast and miss it for what it is worth. Backroads are meant to be backroads (unless you live on them, of course). Either way, keeping them clean is imperative and responsible.

Volunteering is pretty inexpensive. The hard part is getting someone to motivate and organize them.

I wonder...Do the people who oppose or complain about the potential tourist's travelling by their houses, also complain about the poor road conditions that may be keeping people away?

-- Posted by Indymac4 on Tue, Apr 7, 2009, at 8:38 AM

Greene County does have many points of interest. I have an idea inwhich nobody would have to drive their vehicles at all to see them, chartered tours!

These tours could include local eatery and shopping stops ect! These could even be offered as package deals tailored to specific interest groups which could even possibly include lodging, bird watcher guides, fishing guides, boat rentals and what have you.

Make the tours an adventure. Give them a key to the county upon arrival which could be transferred offering a discount to others interested in taking the tours for further incentive. Everyone that receives a key could also have the option of being placed on a mailing list to be informed of upcoming events pricing and availability. Offer discount coupons which can be used to promote local business. So many possibilities!

On another note I wish we could convince our governor to build cabins throughout the Greene-Sullivan State Forest and market this fine asset. This could open the door to many local opportunities and especially so because of its location adjoining the Goose Pond area.

-- Posted by dorindaJ on Tue, Apr 7, 2009, at 10:38 AM

I forgot to add return the slogan "A sportsmans paradise" to this area again. Remember the days?

-- Posted by dorindaJ on Tue, Apr 7, 2009, at 10:53 AM

Another idea is that something extraordinary would attract visitors to this the area. If someone could build a bobsled run in the eastern part of the county such as that which is at Pokagon State Park in Angola. People travel from very far away to experience Pokagon. This would inspire lodging and several other opportunities as well. The hills are there and what a great setting! Skiing and natural water slides would also be possible in this area. Although this idea may seem "far fetched" build it and they WILL come.


-- Posted by dorindaJ on Tue, Apr 7, 2009, at 11:26 AM

Encourage oppotunistic individuals to create homegrown wineries and a "wine trail" in the area which is something that is also rapidly gaining in popularity. Home made candle shops and curios also do well along side wineries as well as many others. Creative culture!

So many ideas outside the box! If I only had the money, lol.

-- Posted by dorindaJ on Tue, Apr 7, 2009, at 11:48 AM

I KNOW-- What if we got a newspaper that followed up by the very next day on a county-wide area meeting designed to look at our county-wide commerce and tourism interests. (Sorry, I seem to have thought outside the box, my bad)

-- Posted by oldeducator on Wed, Apr 8, 2009, at 6:53 AM

I heard The Pepperoni Grill will have a four apartment/suite Bed & Breakfast by the end of this year called The Upper Room Bed & Breakfast. It will be located above The Pepperoni Grill on the square in Bloomfield. Rooms will be available by the night.

-- Posted by hopeanddust on Fri, Apr 10, 2009, at 10:06 AM

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