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Our time to shine with dreams, progress

Our time to shine with dreams, progress Our time to shine with dreams, progress

Take a buzz around Southern Indiana and you will see a lot is happening. Just as the spring foliage is enriching the landscape, so are activities and infrastructure blooming and growing.
Some projects are big and showy construction projects with scaffolds, trucks and lots of workers. Others are quiet businesses on a small scale with high-tech impact. And with summer coming, plans are in the works for festivals with food, family fun and music.
If you live within reading distance of this newspaper, you don’t want to miss all the excitement. Enough of the talk that ‘all the action is in the big cities.’ We have great things going on in Harrison, Crawford and Floyd counties.
I called Catherine Turcotte, the executive director of Main Street Corydon, to fill me in on the local happenings. Wow! Here is the list she sent me. I plan on sticking a copy on my refrigerator so I don’t miss a thing.
‘ Building facades. Main Street Corydon has issued facade grants for painting or renovation of the following buildings; all are underway currently: Beckort Auctions, Stonecipher Building, J.J. Bulleit Building and White House Candy Co. along Chestnut Street; Davis Building at corner of Beaver Street and Capitol Avenue; Merritt Building at corner of Chestnut Street and Capitol Avenue; and Town Square Gallery and The Emporium along North Capitol Avenue.
”Planters and landscaping. Once again, the Harrison County Master Gardeners took on a wonderful beautification project for downtown Corydon, Turcotte said. On April 29, they planted about 60 of the 92 downtown planters. The building owners or shop owners are paying for the plants the Master Gardeners ordered. Main Street Corydon’s Umuganda group planted the entry to downtown Corydon with more than 140 flowering perennials in eight beds along North Capitol from Austin Law Office to The Harrison Center corner plus the Frederick’s Caf’ corner. The result should be stunning. Bobby Whittaker made the plan, since the group wanted the excellence of the Harrison County Public Library’s landscaping, Turcotte said. The Town of Corydon prepared the beds, and the Main Street volunteers and donors made the beautification project possible.
‘ Fred Cammack Corydon Farmers Market. The summer season at the market will kick off Friday with market hours from 4 to 7 each Friday evening. This market has become a great community gathering space, with live music and a festive atmosphere after work. This year, an additional market day is being added, on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. It will be a great place to shop on your lunch hour or to stop by and pick up lunch, Turcotte said. Thirty vendors already have signed up at the market with organic vegetables, hormone- and antibiotic-free meat, fresh roasted coffee beans, homemade soap, fresh-baked pies, Pop’s kettle corn, wine, honey, maple syrup, fresh-cut flowers, candy, mushrooms and handcrafted gifts.
”Summer festivals. The Main Street Corydon committees are busy planning summer festivals. We have lots of good times to look forward to in historic downtown Corydon. You will want to mark your calendars for these events:
‘ The Scenic 62 Long Yard Sale from Lanesville to Leavenworth is back on the first Friday and Saturday of May.
”June 16 and 17 is Art at the Old Capitol. Leah Porter started this festival last year (it brought in more than 3,000 people), and it was sponsored by the bicentennial committee. It was such a huge success that we are continuing it, Turcotte said. We will once again have galleries in the shops around the square, an art and craft festival at Bicentennial Park and interactive children’s art. This is a juried art show, and applications are still being taken; more information can be found online at artattheoldcapitol.com.
”July 8 is Corydon Capital Day. This event will kick off Friday, July 7, with ‘The Capitol Ball’ on the square in Corydon. The State Historic Site is selling tickets to the ball, which includes a period band, dancing and dance instruction, drinks and snacks. The square will be beautifully decorated and wonderful memories will be made, Turcotte said. On Saturday, July 8, there will be all kinds of re-enactors coming to Corydon, demonstrating the trades of the capital period: blacksmithing, spinning, quilting, pottery, painting, churning butter, wood working, branding and rug making. There will be children’s games, entertainment on the bandstand, carriage rides, a photo booth and lots of good food, Turcotte said. For persons coming from out of town, Turcotte recommends buying tickets to The Capitol Ball and staying overnight in town to enjoy the full day of festivities on Saturday.
”New businesses opening this summer include White House Candy Co. along East Chestnut Street, with all kinds of delicious candies and desserts, and Off the Grid and Grill restaurant in the log cabin along South Capitol Avenue.
”Bicentennial Park. It’s nearing completion and will open in June.
‘ Historic building displays. Thirty-nine plaques are being installed on buildings downtown, with photos from years gone by and history of each building by Bill Brockman. The Harrison County Bicentennial Committee’s generosity made this project possible.
Now, let’s take a look at what is happening in Georgetown. The town council has approved a revitalization plan for the area. They are partnering with such organizations as Indiana Landmarks and the Clark and Floyd counties’ convention and tourism to strengthen the area as a gateway into the Southern Indiana corridor.
In Crawford County, there is good leadership directed toward the Hometown Collaborative Initiative. With the guidance of Purdue and Ball State universities, along with the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, the county will be able to identify an economic strategy to move forward.
Christine Harbeson of the Community Foundation of Crawford County and Gail Peitzmeir of the Extension Service/4-H program are two of the energized leaders in action.
Also, keep your eyes open for the new Dollar General store in Marengo as a sign of confidence in the future of the area by a national retailer, and watch the amazing Veterans Memorial being created in English by a local group of veterans and supporters, including the Crawford County Historical and Genealogical Society.
In many of our communities, we have good leadership and ideas but little money to implement our dreams. Here is where our search for high-tech individuals and companies come in. Skilled by education and experience, residents who understand and operate in the digital world can provide the economic engines for our community development.
In Corydon, two young entrepreneurs, Taylor Johnson and Tyler Best, started the firm Digital Now IT in 2015. They provide a variety of Internet services, from designing and managing websites and social-media platforms to networking and managing computer systems. They recently completed the documentary on the heroin epidemic in Harrison County that will be presented at county schools.
Taylor is a recent graduate of Hanover College, and Tyler, a graduate of the University of Evansville, attends Asbury Theological Seminary.
Another success story operating in Corydon is Peyton Technical Services. Trent Peyton started this successful electrical safety company in 2005 with an idea and $1,300 along with his degree from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. The company, which provides electrical safety assessment and training all over the country, employs 30 people, the majority of whom are engineers.
Why do highly skilled and trained young people often gravitate to the big cities when many can work from anywhere in the world? It is quality of life that draws them to be surrounded by people who share their interests and programs and facilities that meet their needs. No ‘go getter’ wants to run a computer by himself on a bare piece of land. He/she goes where the action is, and that brings us back around to the activities and infrastructure improvements that progressive communities can provide.
Aaron M. Renn, now a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research in New York, is originally from Laconia. In a recent speech, he said, ‘Indianapolis was one of the earliest and most successful cities at revitalizing its downtown after an era of abandonment. A lot of this came from a willingness to be different and to take calculated risks that ultimately paid off.’
Renn goes on to say that the proof is the ‘rise of the technology industry in the region and downtown,’ thanks to a long history of public projects and the private-sector investment.
There is a lot to learn from the experiences of those in more urban areas. Now it is our time to rise with our own version of dreams and progress. What a great time to be part of the action here at home.

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