- Special Sections
- Public Notices
O'Bannon Highway, I-64 have county at tourism crossroads
TELL CITY - A new state highway tying Perry County with communities to its north is opening new opportunities for local tourism, the director of Perry County's convention and visitors bureau said this month.
Local officials and those involved in tourism-related businesses, Bev Minto said, need to realize just how connected Perry County is to its neighbors and how beneficial the roadways will be in drawing visitors and their spending dollars to the county.
"Right now, we're in the middle of so many major attractions, whether it's French Lick to the north or Spencer County to the west. Now we have to reach out and let others know what we have to offer," Minto said at the first meeting of the CVB in 2008.
The new Frank O'Bannon Highway, dedicated late last year, provides a direct link to Patoka Lake and the Orange County communities of French Lick and West Baden Springs. Millions of dollars have been invested there in a new casino and large-scale hotel projects. More investment is under way.
Easily accessible from Interstate 64, Minto said, are popular Spencer County attractions, including Holiday World, Lincoln State Park and Lincoln National Memorial.
Visitors to those specific attractions need to know what Perry County has to offer, Minto suggested, including thousands of acres of national forest, miles of Ohio River frontage, campgrounds, hiking trails and historic communities
"Perry County has real opportunities to reach visitors traveling to those places around us," Minto said.
Tourism officials are recognizing the value of regional efforts that draw visitors not just to one attraction, but several destinations within short driving distances of one another. With the O'Bannon Highway, Interstate 64 and the limited-access Indiana 37 from Tell City to St. Croix, visitors can easily reach attractions in neighboring counties in just half an hour.
"If we don't reach out to visitors already in our area, someone else will," said Minto.
Local officials already know northern areas of the county along Indiana 37 and Indiana 145 are primed for development and have worked to ensure orderly growth through zoning regulations. Providing sewers to the area remains an important future step in promoting growth, Minto said.
Tell City proposed extending a sewer line to St. Croix several years ago but a lack of existing homes and businesses would require high sewer bills. Minto predicted utilities will eventually reach the area, increasing the odds of development.
Minto has become active in regional tourism groups that promote southern Indiana and hopes those efforts will help bring visitors to Tell City's sesquicentennial celebration this summer and yearly events such as Dogwood Festival and Hoosier Heritage Fall Tour.