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Survey is first step in preparing marketing plan for bridge closure

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By Dave Taylor

Development of a successful marketing plan to lure business to Carroll County during the closure of the Milton-Madison Bridge next year was the primary focus of discussion between local business and government leaders during Friday’s meeting of the Carroll County Community Development Corporation.

Marketing specialist Myndi Gardt encouraged the assemblage to look at the upcoming construction and bridge closure as “an opportunity, not a negative.”

Gardt said a local survey is available online that will enable CCCDC members to see what attracts patrons into the existing Carrollton business community and get ideas on how the community can improve services or offerings to attract more customers and keep them.

There are questions on the survey specific to restaurants, the outlet mall, the possibility of outdoor restaurants downtown, art centers, bookstores and whether Carroll County Memorial Hospital is meeting the medical needs of the community.

CCCDC board member Ruth Baxter said transportation officials from Kentucky and Indiana hope to have a contractor hired by the middle of next month. Closure of the bridge would likely not occur before the middle of next summer.

“It’s going to be a significant hit” for the business community, Baxter said. “You think it’s slow now, just wait.”

Baxter said about 700 workers have moved out of the area in recent months after construction was completed on renovations at the Louisville Gas and Electric Co.’s Trimble County Generating Station on the Ohio River at Wise’s Landing. In anticipation of from 220 to 300 construction workers relocating here for the bridge project, some landowners in Trimble County have begun setting up mobile homes to attract renters from the construction force.

“It’s the people in our surrounding counties that we want to draw here to Carroll County rather than have them driving to Oldham County,” Baxter said.

Part of the purpose for the online survey, Gardt said, is to measure what services are available in other counties that patrons find attractive that might be offered here to entice shoppers.

“What do people in outlying counties want that they find in other counties?” Gardt said. “What can we do to offer that here? The only way to know what people want is to get inside their heads.”

The survey may be found online at www.carrollcountyly.com, www.trimblecounty.com and the Carroll County Chamber Facebook Page.

Baxter said CCCDC has to market Carroll County “from the standpoint of educating people as to what we have available here in our community.”

CCMH Chief Executive Officer Kanute Rarey said he and hospital staffers will be contacting contractors offering to serve their occupational medicine needs.

Carroll County Judge-Executive Harold “Shorty” Tomlinson said, “That bridge is going to close and those people (in outlying counties) are going to spend their dollars somewhere. We want to target those dollars and get people to spend those dollars here.”