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Attracting tourists.

Visitors flocking to southeastern Indiana are finding more than gaming. Arts and entertainment venues are fueling local economies, too.

With Hyatt's Grand Victoria drawing about 1.5 million people a year to Rising Sun, new visitor venues are cropping up. The latest is the Pendleton Arts Center, just certified as a nonprofit so it can expand its gallery offerings and artists' studios in a former Main Street hardware building. "The idea is arts are economics for Rising Sun," says Sherry Timms, executive director of the Rising Sun-Ohio County Convention, Tourism and Visitors Bureau.

It's true in nearby Switzerland County, too, where the Switzerland County Historical Society is creating a living-history riverboat museum. "Dow Coming has donated the property and work is beginning," says Judith Firth, executive director of the Switzerland County Economic Development Commission.

In Decatur County, a local's longtime dream was realized this year with opening of the Ironhorse Roadhouse, an 800-seat auditorium, restaurant and lounge in Greensburg.

"We had 17,000 people come to Greensburg for skydiving last year. This will give us nighttime entertainment," says Melanie Maxwell, tourism director for the Greensburg/Decatur County Chamber of Commerce. Also in the complex: Roadhouse Choppers, featuring customized Indian motorcycles.

Industry also is getting a shot in the arm, as development plans for the public/private, 260-acre Greensburg Rail and Business Park proceeds, reports Mike Walker, executive director of the newly formed Economic Development Corp. of Greensburg/Decatur County. "We're assisting local businesses with retention and expansion as well as seeking new industries."

In Switzerland County, growth is coming with Ohio-based BESI Inc.'s recent purchase of a building it had been leasing since it opened its Vevay plant in 2000. Currently employing about 25, the school bus seat-cover manufacturer expects to double that with an equipment expansion now under way, Firth reports.
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Title Annotation:Southeast Indiana update: the region's top business stories.
Comment:Attracting tourists.(Southeast Indiana update: the region's top business stories.)
Author:Mayer, Kathy
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Geographic Code:1U3IN
Date:Feb 1, 2004
Words:303
Previous Article:Big buys.
Next Article:Profile: Royer Corp.: Madison company is the largest swizzle-stick maker in the U.S. One order: 14 million.
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