Audubon convention center is needed, will promote stewardship of the park
I think this would be of interest to the people in Henderson, and hopefully will clear up any confusion or misunderstandings about this project.
The Friends of Audubon is a nonprofit organization formed in Henderson in 1984 to support, promote and enhance the core values of John James Audubon State Park. We meet monthly and have raised significant monies to enhance the museum, and have added 649 acres of wetlands adjacent to the park and many other projects.
The Friends of Audubon were approached earlier this year, and encouraged by leaders in the parks department and other leaders in state government to develop a plan that would enhance and promote the mission of the park. The Friends of Audubon had previously developed a plan for a regional conference center that would meet this criteria and coincidentally this would tie into the needs and long-term vision plans of the city and county. These plans have been discussed extensively on the radio, TV and social media. We do not feel that this would compromise or undermine the park’s core values. Instead, we think this will help to promote and inspire the awareness and appreciation of the diverse flora and fauna of the area for this generation and generations to come.
The conference center will serve the public and encourage good environmental stewards and deepen the appreciation of the ecological significance of John James Audubon State Park. The conference center will utilize a lot of the existing infrastructure and minimally affect the nature areas. It is designed to fit where the old, abandoned beach house is located. This area is segmented from the other areas of the park and already includes the necessary parking spaces and will also include a new and safer access road to Watson Lane. The design will also allow those with limited mobility to enjoy the park in the lake area not available to them now.
The planned conference center is not just another meeting place. It would be the largest event center in the Tri-County area, and it would serve and entertain the thousands of visitors that come on a yearly basis for field trips, summer camps, nature workshops and school trips. The Friends of Audubon, Henderson City Commission, Henderson County Fiscal Court, Henderson Chamber of Commerce, Henderson Economic Development and Henderson Tourist Commission have all supported this project.
The conference center will be a major asset for our community and surrounding areas and a significant project for our beloved Audubon State Park. People will no longer have to leave our community in search of an event center that can accommodate between 200 and 400 people. Special care has been given to the design that accentuates the beauty of the park and the view of the lake. It would rejuvenate an area of the park that once was enjoyed by many but now is visited by a few. It is a natural fit with the park’s other amenities and the view of the lake.
The funding opportunity, the benefits to our park and community, and the way the center is designed would greatly enhance the park’s features and visitor experience. These are all reasons why we are excited about this potential. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to potentially have the state pay for 1/2 the cost, the city pay for 1/4 of the cost, the county pay for 1/4 of the cost and the state maintain and staff the event center. This funding opportunity is unprecedented for us.
The Friends of Audubon strongly believe this project fits perfectly with the mission statement of the park, which is to serve the public and promote appreciation of the natural habitat of the area, and to promote and educate all people to be good stewards of our environment— now and into the future.
S. Kurtis Wilson
President, Friends of Audubon
A new suggestion for convention center
Ken Christopher is exactly 100% correct in his letter to the editor, in issue #4. Audubon State Park is a national treasure. And, as Mr. Christopher said, bird lovers, among others, with wanderlust make meccas to this park from all over the world. I have no idea who proposed this idea of corrupting such a park with concrete and steel and hundreds of parking spaces for vehicles to blight the park, but they might as well adopt the theme song, “Big Yellow Taxi”.
As a conservationist, I am appalled at the idea of desecrating this monument. My sainted grandmother would spin in her grave.
May I offer another suggestion?
The Bridgeview Inn recently burned to the ground pretty much. That section of North Henderson could stand some beautification. I suggest putting this convention center across the road from the Bridgeview Inn just west of the Bi-State Vietnam Gold Star Memorial bridges where we normally see flooding that closes that back road in the spring time. With the I-69 project progressing, there is still talk of eliminating one of the two highway 41 bridges here. That will relegate Highway 41 to the status of “scenic route.”
Let me try to put an image in your mind. Highway 41 will eventually be the AAA scenic route from Indiana to western Kentucky. But for travelers and vacationers and wanderers, coming across that bridge or those bridges will be their family vacation welcome to Kentucky, my beloved home state. Google the Sydney Australia cityscape. Imagine coming across that bridge or those bridges and being welcomed to the Commonwealth with a beautiful structure erected in what is now a useless floodplain on the south side of the bridge but in the north end of Henderson, where we need improvement.
The farmers out on Horseshoe Bend erect their structures on piers. Building parking garages and a convention center in that wasted area would not pose a tremendous engineering challenge, at least compared to building a new bridge across the Ohio or deconstructing one. Plus, all the residue and debris from the construction/deconstruction of bridges here could be used in the foundation of the new convention center to raise it above reasonable flood level. Initial responses from the Army Corps of Engineers is that the project we propose would not pose any ecological problem worth delaying so long as the structures were built on peers, and not placed behind levees.
Another thing I should bring up: there’s a project my ex-wife and I have already discussed and which she is touting (with positive feedback) to Senator Rand Paul’s office. It’s a brilliant plan to increase tourism here while extending the Henderson River Walk all the way through to the eagles’ nest area of the wetlands on the east side of the bridges, and then on to connect with Audubon Park, improving our tourism economy and beautifying the north end of Henderson. I am party and privy to the details of that riverwalk plan, which may sound impossible to those of you who know who lives along the river between Hays Landing and the old Midwest Harness and fairgrounds, but I assure you, none of those private citizens or private businesses would be impacted in any way, unless it is massively to the positive. But I have given her my word today that I will not discuss the details until she is ready and has more support from the senator’s office on pursuing federal economic improvement grants.
Henderson needs more thoughtful citizens like Ken Christopher. This is a beautiful town and county. Let’s not destroy the good parts for somebody’s economic benefit. Let’s expand upon the beauty of our area without hurting anybody or destroying what we already have worked so hard for.
Just trying to help.
Another fan of the Hendersonian
I have been blessed to find and read two of your publications. I returned to Henderson about two years ago and was so sad to see the results of the Gleaner. I have always enjoyed my newspapers, regardless of where I have lived. When in Nashville for over 30 years, the Tennessean was my go-to news. I always kept up with my hometown news as well as I possibly could. It is so sad to see what has happened to the local newspaper. When I found a local newspaper, “the Hendersonian,” that actually printed local news, I was so happy. I have subscribed to the Evansville Courier, and after many missed papers, I decided to cancel it. However, after several conversations, they have corrected their delivery issues and I continue to receive it. However, your paper is my very favorite that I have found since returning to Henderson. I wish you the very best, and hope you continue to expand. I would certainly support you and your efforts. You will be my number one subscription. Thank you, Mr. Tweddell, and to all your contributors. I always enjoyed the Stinnetts’ articles when they were active with the Gleaner and love seeing their contributors here.
Beshear not taking higher ground
In response to the September 2023 Letter to the Editor, “Beshear is taking the higher ground,” Gov. Beshear has infringed on our freedoms by closing our schools, shutting down church services, shutting down small businesses, and placing travel restrictions on citizens.
Beshear has not protected us and considering the following facts, I believe it is rather evident he has done worse and exposed our children instead of protecting them: vetoing a bill to protect our girls from biological males (transgender girls) from participating in girls’ sports, vetoing a bill banning gender reassignment surgeries for minors and then telling us those surgeries are not happening here. He is proudly pro-choice on abortion, apparently without any regard of the developing baby, still without a voice, but he is not pro-choice on Covid vaccination for our military. That, in clear view, is not “higher ground.”
He touts a budget surplus, though at least $2.1 billion is federal tax dollars. How about a fact-based exchange? Excessive printing of currency has affected inflation which is hurting the most vulnerable the most.
Beshear claims he created jobs. What about employers having trouble finding people who want to work?
It was right to fully fund our teachers’ retirement fund. Had the facts been reported so that most can understand why there was a crisis in the first place? What happened from 2007 to 2016?
Do most Kentucky residents know Kentucky ranks 32nd in the U.S. in education (US News & World Report)? Is an 11% pay increase proper and based on merit?
US News ranks Kentucky below 50% in the following categories: economy, education, fiscal stability and healthcare. And above 50% in the following: crime/corrections, infrastructure, opportunity and natural environment.
Our governor should stand up for truth, facts and freedoms. A strong governor will be fiscally responsible, will support the law, protect our constitution and protect our children, including those who cannot yet speak.
The power of free will may be impossible to measure. The right to choose sexual preference, as an adult, should not be governed. If an adult elects gender reassignment, it is their choice and should be at their expense and never the taxpayer. No one other than parents should ever have influence nor authority over a minor on this topic. It is unimaginable that this could ever be challenged, or even considered. Minors are not permitted to purchase tobacco products, vape, drink, or to get a tattoo without parental permission, yet some feel minors should be allowed to choose radical surgery without oversight of their parents.
So, Andy Beshear “taking the higher ground” is a bit too much for me take.