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Greene County a vacation destination? Work underway to attract visitorsPosted 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.
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