Beautification project still alive for Highway 245

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By Mary Barczak

SHEPHERDSVILLE--The battle for beauty at the Highway 245 exit  and entrance ramps continued at December’s meeting for the Shepherdsville-Bullitt County Tourist & Convention Commission Tuesday.

Tourism Director Troy Beam said they had another prebid and bid meeting for the project to beautify the ramps but the bids still came in too high even after cutting back on materials.
“It’s a pretty big curve ball,” he said.
After talking with Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, Beam said they’ve agreed to pay for the plant materials. This project has been ongoing since 2007.

Comission members asked Beam what happened to half of the money they paid into the project to get it started and he said it’s in a state account somewhere.

Beam said he felt “fairly confident” they would rebid by the end of January and have a good bid chosen by February then be bale to start on a lot of the work in spring.

“It’ll happen in someone’s lifetime,” said member Tom Kelly.

In other business:
-All members were present at the meeting

-The commission approved the minutes from the October meeting since they did not meet in November.
-During the tourism director’s report, Beam told the commission hotel occupancy was at 59 percent in October due to the national FFA convention.  It was up about $15,000 from last year, which he said, is the second best they’ve ever had. The commission also added having the special weekend at Knob Creek Gun Range that same month also contributed. Conference Centre Director Vicki Downing said she also heard pizza delivery places in Hillview broke records for how many pizzas they delivered while the convention was in town.
-The nominating committee, made up of commission members Buddy Deeley and Kirit Gandhi, said they met and suggested the commission keep their same positions for next year.
They contacted the members to make sure they were OK with the decision and they were. The commission voted to approve the suggestion.

-During the conference centre director’s report from, Downing shared profitability was at about 53 percent and food cost at about 44 percent. She noted that was fairly high for the food and that they may be doing some tweaking in the future by considering sit down family-style serving for more children’s events to help with portion control.
She also said they had a lot more people than anticipated attend the Christmas Open House which meant more food they used. Last year they had about 200 people attend. This year it was close to 350.

Downing told the commission to anticipate higher payments on the mortgage for the center in the upcoming months because they thought the interest was fixed but only about 2.29 percent of it is.

-Downing said the crew fixing the foyer floors was supposed to begin on Monday but were behind in work load due to the weather and would be coming out soon. She said they still had not paid the company any money and will not until they fix the problems with the color, borders and emblems.
-Beam said he got a request to sponsor a chair for the governor’s mansion for the county. Kelly said he’d like to hear how the other 12 counties that purchased it already came up with the money.
“I don’t know why we’re so eager,” he said.
Beam said First Lady Jane Beshear is looking to replace all the chairs with each of the counties having a name on them. He said the chairs were made in Berea,
Kelly suggested letting fiscal court pay for it.

-Beam said with the implementation of House Bill 1 the commission should adopt a code of ethics. He suggested the county’s code of ethics. Kelly said he was glad the state was taking a closer look at taxing agencies and making them adopt a code.
Downing suggested they change some of the county’s code of ethics wording to fit their organization before passing it. The rest of the commission thought it was alright as is and voted to adopt it.
-Assistant Director of Tourism, Alex Wimsatt, addressed the commission about some recent volunteers he had at the office. He said Judge Rodney Burress suggested Wimsatt might use some volunteers from drug court to help out with duties such as sending out the mailers. Some coordinators of the program have been sending a couple volunteers at a time to earn service hours.


He asked the commission if they had any concerns about the matter and said he had taken full reponsibility for the volunteers in writing. Kelly said Wimsatt needed to be cautious due to an incident they had at the conference center with people breaking in a couple years ago.