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Bicentennial gets $2,500 seed money

By BOB HANSEN - bhansen@newsexaminer.com

Fayette County’s Bicentennial got a boost when the county Tourism Board approved providing seed money.

The county Bicentennial will be May 16-19, 2019. It’s under the supervision of the Tourism Board, which appointed two of its members to a steering committee chaired by Mike and Jenny Sparks. Mike Sparks chaired the City of Connersville Bicentennial five years ago.

Wednesday, Mike Sparks gave the Tourism Board an update on the committee’s activities. The board then appropriated $2,500 as Bicentennial seed money. The money can be used for advertising and other expenses.

Sparks told the board that the steering committee has met three times since July 11, when he and Jenny agreed to chair it. He is hopeful that people from all over the county will become involved with the county Bicentennial.

“First and foremost, the emphasis is on the county,” Sparks said.

Steering committee members include Ed Herrell, vice chair; Corinne Westerfield and Tamra DeGroat, representing the Tourism Board; Sue Anne Pflum Walker and Steve Walker, Farm Bureau representatives; and Lindsey Brooks, Pat Summan, Sharon McQueen, Vickie and Robin Beaty, Jackie Church, Jim Reese and Debbie Jobe.

The Steering Committee has agreed on three activities to surround a local celebration of Armed Forces Day on May 18. The distinctly Bicentennial activities are a display of 10,000 American flags in Roberts Park; recognition of local Indiana Homestead Farms that have been in the hands of the same family for 100 years or longer; and a geocache hunt that would take people to local historical sites.

Additionally, the Honoring Our Elders luncheon, which has been held annually since the 2013 city bicentennial, will be May 16.

In other business, the Tourism Board heard from Lew Johnson, who is hoping the Tourism Board will help provide funding for his plan for a new information kiosk near Grand Central Station at 455 Market St. It would include a map of attractions in Fayette County and places to put current event promotions and brochures. The Tourism Board encouraged him to connect with a local nonprofit organization for sponsorship, because the board cannot provide funds to individuals. 

The board also referred two bills for 2017 projects to the county attorney. The board believes the expenses may not have been properly authorized.