Initiative to make Terre Haute more appealing to visitors

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – More than 100,000 people travel to Terre Haute each year.

A Robotics Competition, the Girls State Basketball Finals and a Bowling Tournament will draw nearly 17,000 people to Terre Haute, this weekend alone. With hotels completely booked local restaurants and businesses will also cash in.

“We would expect this weekend to be somewhere in the three quarters of a million dollars in terms of economic payoff,” said David Patterson, Executive Director of the Terre Haute Visitors and Convention Bureau.

Ensuring those people and their money return to Terre Haute is a continuous effort.

“It’s just a lot of little details. None are more important than the other. They are all important in their own way,” Patterson said.

Little details Mayor Duke Bennett says are crucial to expanding the city.

“You got to keep working at it all the time, because that first impression goes along way. You never know who these parents of these kids are here are or other visitors that are coming, you know what businesses they are connected with, or whether their in a position to recommend Terre Haute to somebody, so that first impression is so important,” Bennett explained.

A row of colored lights are the first thing visitors see when getting off Interstate 70 at Exit 7 in Terre Haute, but a new initiative aims to make the city’s gateways more appealing.

“We want to bring landscaping in, decorative lighting, curbing, more pedestrian friendly amenities, and signage to direct them to a variety of entertainment venues,” said Bennett.

The transformation expected to cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars is an effort to keep Terre Haute a level above.

“Anytime you can bring folks in and have them leave with a good thought of your community and leave behind the revenue those are wonderful things for this community,” Patterson stated.

Nearly 3,400 jobs are related to tourism in Vigo County alone.

The project is currently in the planning process. It could be a year before the city begins to make the transformations.

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