Waiting for the next Blaine Wiseman
Randy West, Special Writer
Where is Blaine Wiseman when you need him?
The late Blaine Wiseman was the president of Old Capital Bank & Trust Co. and a tremendous economic force in Corydon and Harrison County. He would recognize the potential for a good project, identify a leader to manage it and things would happen.
Corydon and Harrison County could use someone like Blaine Wiseman now. Things are percolating, and there is a definite sense that an economic rebound is on the horizon, if only various individuals and groups would step forward, work together, establish reachable goals and then promote and work like heck.
A new group has formed recently, Develop Downtown Corydon, and its leaders have lots of ideas and enthusiasm. One good idea that came out of a meeting last week at the Corydon Jamboree building was a business that represents the arts and crafts, goods and services of Harrison County. Imagine that: one-stop shopping that would do nothing but promote Harrison County. Tourists would probably really like that. It would benefit everyone.
I have become aware of several new businesses in Corydon with optimistic and enthusiastic leaders: The Green Door restaurant, So Dear to My Heart jewelry and Laff Worx, a ‘feel-good newspaper.’ There are other businesses that cater to tourists: Zimmerman Art Glass factory, antique stores, restaurants, hotels, wineries, all the historic sites and the new micro-brewery that’s coming to the square. There are organizations in place that should be ready to throw their support behind business enterprises: the banks, Harrison County Community Foundation, Economic Development Corp., the Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Corydon, Leadership Harrison County, the Harrison County Convention & Visitors Bureau, and county and town governments, for example.
In addition to the Corydon Jamboree (the best-kept secret in Harrison County), we are blessed with so many unique assets here that it’s impossible to name them all in a limited space, but here are some: the Kintner Inn Bed and Breakfast, Town Square Gallery, Viola’s Gallery, Harmony and Health, Arlston’s Booksellers, Emery’s Ice Cream, Butt Drugs, The White Cloud Window, Frederick’s Caf’, the Artisan Center, Head Bean Coffee Shop, the weekly band and monthly bluegrass concerts, the festivals and other events on the town square, the Harrison County Fair (why aren’t more trotters being trained and running at our nice limestone track?), Hayswood Theatre (opening night for ‘Blazing Guns at Roaring Gulch’ was sold out), Squire Boone Caverns, the county’s park system, the Indian Creek Trail system, the YMCA of Harrison County, new baseball/softball diamonds at Lanesville, the amazingly popular Lanesville Heritage Weekend, the county’s public library system, O’Bannon Woods State Park, Horseshoe Casino and so on. (If I left you out, please accept my apologies.)
The discovery of a link between two huge cave systems below us has dramatic ramifications for tourism in the near future. And then there’s that 14-acre Keller Manufacturing site languishing in the middle of Corydon, just waiting for something to happen there. It’s the elephant in the living room.
What we need is for ALL these organizations and individuals who have a stake in the economic well-being of Corydon, the other towns and Harrison County to come together under one umbrella organization with a super board of directors to establish some reachable goals and a grand strategic plan to achieve them. It will require the full support of county and town governmental people of vision. Who will be the bold leader? Who will be the next Blaine Wiseman?