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Paroquet Springs may be growing

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New logo gets OK

By The Staff

SHEPHERDSVILLE - The popularity and usage of the Paroquet Springs Conference Centre continues to grow.

With that in mind, members of the Shepherdsville-Bullitt County Tourist and Convention Commission have been looking at ways to make sure the facility meets all the necessary needs.

Some of that has been done in terms of improvements to the large Salt River Hall. Now, the commissioners are looking to expand the second largest meeting space, the McDowell Room.

Commission chair Tom Kelly said the improvements in the spacious Salt River Hall have been helpful. Carpet was purchased for the floor, lighting was improved, more drapes were purchased to allow for a more intimate setting, drywall was extended on the interior walls and now the board is looking at some drapes to help with the acoustics and aesthetics.

But the McDowell Room is the next largest and can hold no more than 150 people.

Kelly said there are requests for something in between the two rooms.

Commission James Watkins brought in a rendering of a possible expansion to the current McDowell Room toward the side parking lot.

The expansion would double the current size and capacity of the room.

The commission approved spending around $5,100 to do an engineering study for the expansion.

Kelly said there might be some stimulus money to assist with the project. Bullitt County was assigned $6 million toward certain projects and he felt this could qualify.

While that project will move forward, Kelly appointed a subcommittee of Buddy Deeley, Steve Patel and Watkins to visit several other facilities to look at the ceiling drapes. Proposals are being sought for the project.

In other business:

*With a sign in Mount Washington that won’t work, the commission approved spending $10,600 to purchase the mechanics needed to make it operational.

The commission supplied tourist-information signage in Hillview, Lebanon Junction and Shepherdsville. The Mount Washington sign took time to find a proper location but the computer mechanics would not work.

To have a one-sided sign installed in Mount Washington, the cost would be around $10,600, according to Watkins. With the sign’s message only being seen from one side, the cost is lower than the $18,000 spent on the others.

The price includes installation of the message components to be placed inside the existing sign and a five-year warranty on parts.

An issue in Lebanon Junction over its sign apparently has been solved as the city will program its signage from its own computer. Currently, commission staff had to physically drive to Lebanon Junction to change the message.

With existing problems in the sign mechanics in Lebanon Junction, Watkins said it was advised to not take those components to use for the Mount Washington sign.

*Despite a soft economy, the commission is sitting in better shape financially after the seventh month than in previous years. Kelly said the commission has been able to run over $187,000 in its bank account, including a $40,000 certificate of deposit recently purchased, thanks to good management and cost controls by the staff.

However, a bad sign was the latest lodging tax figures.

Commissioner Jay Patel said the hotel business is the worst he’s seen in years. Even the usually reliable Farm Machinery Show hasn’t sold out hotel rooms in the region as in years past.

Bad weather is also fatal to hotel operators, said Patel, as many people cancel their reservations because they can’t travel.

While people aren’t staying in hotel rooms, they are still eating. The restaurant taxes for November 2009 were up $8,000 over the previous month.

*The commission declared its tourism van as surplus.

The van, with 63,000 miles, was purchased to use on the airport shuttles. However, the commission opted to stop that service and the van has been used infrequently ever since.

Sealed bids will be taken at the conference center with the opening at the March 9 meeting.

*The commission approved the new logo for the tourism portion of the agency. It depicts the county’s wineries, Jim Beam and Bernheim Forest.

*The commission opted to utilize Louisville Gas & Electric to install lighting along the new boat ramp. Three lights will be installed.

The next meeting of the Shepherdsville-Bullitt County Tourist and Convention Commission will be on Tuesday, March 9, at 4:30 p.m. at Paroquet Springs Conference Centre. The public is invited.