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Commission to honor Barnes with naming of outdoor reception area

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By Mary Barczak

 It’s been about 13 years since the dedication of Paroquet Springs Conference Centre. On July 17 Bill Barnes will get to see the fruits of his labor with the ribbon cutting of Barnes Courtyard.

Barnes, owner of the Best Western, was always a big supporter of building the conference center from the beginning when the site was still a truck stop, said Tourism Director Troy Beam.

At his retirement banquet in 2012, commission member Tom Kelly thanked Barnes for helping to bring the conference center “to life.”

Barnes was the first chairman of the tourism commission and served on the coucil for about 20 years.

“I think it’s a great honor and I am humbled by it,” he said.

Barnes was also instrumental in partnering Bullitt County’s hospitality and tourism industries. He said the early board members saw a need to establish the organization to add a tourism tax which could benefit the community. He said they saw a lot of tourists passing through the area using the hotels and other ammenities.

The offical ribbon cutting for the new courtyard will be at 7 p.m.

Other items that were discussed at the meeting:

Triple Crown Steak House has been purchased and will be reopened in August as a sports café.

Conference Centre Director Vicki Downing said she had the Shepherdsville ABC officer come look at the courtyard and talked to the legal department in Frankfort about being able to sell alcohol in the garden. Last meeting some members voiced concerns with the liability of serving alcohol outside on the patio. “I feel like I have done everything to answer those questions for you all as peace of mind,” she said. The council voted to allow alcohol sales at Bullitt Blast for draft beer at $6 each since it is a special event. “We want it to be a place to come sit down and socialize,” she said. Beer will be sold at all other events in the courtyard at regular price.

Beam said summer attendance to Bullitt County attractions such as Kart Kountry and Jim Beam continue to be good.

The council predicted that revenues for June to be increased due to the  Baseball Youth Nationals being so close in Elizabethtown.

Members shared they received a lot of positive feedback about the hospitality seminar run by assistant tourism director Alex Wimsatt. He said he thought the seminar was an overall success and they hope to do it again next year.

Downing said the center’s revenue was down from May to June because two events were canceled, but they have no outstanding bills at this time.

 Beam asked the commission to approve a proposal to Bullitt County Fiscal Court to extend the contract with Kentucky Transportation Cabinet regarding the exit 112/I-65 landscape project.

The next commission meeting will be July 16 at 4:30 p.m. at Paroquet Springs. The public is invited to attend.