The train is leaving the station ‘ will you be on board?
Charles S. Ewry’s continuing series of stories called a ‘Walking Tour of Corydon’ has been an eye-opener for us, and, we hope, you, too. Corydon is certainly not a ghost town, and it’s not on the verge of folding up.
There are many more businesses here than we were aware of, some tucked away in places that are hard to find, and many more people work in the historic downtown district than we had thought, and we’re not halfway done with the series.
There are now four churches downtown and a slew of lawyers. Drug stores are vastly more interesting places than they used to be. You can find some wonderful antiques, great jewelry or ‘collectables’ downtown, including wooden Indians. There’s a cafe or restaurant in Corydon for almost everyone’s taste. Some businesses have a rather particular clientele; others have a huge client base.
The interviews Chuck has been doing reveal a lot of history in the buildings, as you would expect, but there’s also a wide variety of businesses in those buildings, from a family music store and a custom bakery to a drug and alcohol recovery center. We are impressed with the vitality of many businesses, the training, ingenuity and resourcefulness of the owners and managers, plus their knowledge, creativity and hospitality. They are a wonderful and potentially powerful mix.
In contrast to an editorial we wrote recently about Corydon becoming a ghost town, this town may not be a boomtown at the moment, but it seems to be doing well, and we think it’s on the threshold of getting better in the very near future.
Of course, much of the prosperity hinges on the future of the big auto parts plants on the north edge of town. If they fold, that will be a huge blow to the economy of the downtown, but with the experts at the Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Corydon, and the Harrison County Convention and Visitors Bureau all working hard to keep those industries here and attract new industry and business, well, who knows what will happen. We’re hoping for the best.
But if Corydon is to succeed as a tourist attraction and the economic hub of Harrison County, there needs to be much, much more input and participation from the merchants and professional people. There is too much disinterest, individualism, and not enough pulling and planning together. That, too, could change for the better in the near future when the CVB starts sponsoring public meetings to discuss parking, shopping hours and new signs for the downtown plus major road entrances. Lord knows we need to start doing something about those long-ignored liabilities, especially before tourist season begins. And when will we start talking about downtown housing and retail needs?
A meeting tonight at 7 at the Leora Brown School on Summit Street regarding potential uses of the former Keller Manufacturing Co. property will be crucial. The Estopinal Group from Jeffersonville will reveal the results of their study.
The Indian Creek Trail group has almost completed work on the second leg of the trail along Big Indian Creek, and funding has been secured for the third and most ambitious leg of the trail, from the West Bridge to Hayswood Nature Reserve. That will draw people downtown.
Another committee has been working on getting proposals and funding for a memorial to Gov. Frank O’Bannon on the town square. The Friends of Harrison County Youth is making fast progress on construction of baseball and softball diamonds while, at the same time, the YMCA completes work on soccer fields nearby this spring. The YMCA membership is growing by leaps and bounds ‘ another positive sign for downtown Corydon.
CVB community development manager Sean Hawkins is booking artists for another series of bluegrass concerts on the square this summer, and there will be another full summer of very popular Friday night band concerts, plus the other annual holiday events on the square.
Good things are about to happen, and the more people who climb aboard this train, the better.