Sprucing up the Park

Clifty Inn's Riverview lodge
to be replaced

New building will help modernize the facility

By Ruth Wright
Staff Writer

MADISON, Ind. (December 2003) – A lot has changed since 1924 when the original Clifty Inn opened to guests. Located on a bluff in Madison’s picturesque Clifty Falls State Park, the modern inn features an indoor swimming pool and hot tub, a game room, a dining room, several meeting rooms and 67 guest rooms, four of which are suites.

Karen Hinton-Clifty Inn

Photo by Ruth Wright

Karen Hinton, Clifty Inn's general manager.

Now, even more changes – or rather, improvements –  are slated for the inn. In February 2003, state government officials appropriated from the 1999 General Fund Construction more than $3 million dollars for the replacement of the inn’s Riverview building.
Located adjacent to the main lodge on the park’s south side facing the Ohio River, the 36-room Riverview building was deemed irreparable, according to Clifty Inn general manager Karen Hinton. During its February 2003 meeting, the state budget committee cited “long-term leaks, mold, roofing and site drainage mechanicals” as some of the problems that have “compromised the building” and that, if not addressed, could result in “pending facility failure.”
The serious and extensive nature of the building’s problems made it too expensive to renovate, according to Hinton. It was decided instead that the building should be totally demolished and rebuilt.
In the same spot in place of the old three-level building will be a new four-level facility featuring 37 guest rooms and three suites, bringing to 71 the inn’s total rooms.
All rooms will be tastefully decorated in a nature theme to complement the rest of the inn, said Hinton. The suites will be similar to those in the main lodge, which include a kitchenette and dining area, a living room with a fold-out couch, a large bath with a two-person jacuzzi tub and six-head shower, and a separate bedroom.
Unlike the current Riverview building, which is detached from the main lodge, the new building will be connected by a glass corridor.

Clifty Falls State Park-Riverview

Photo by Ruth Wright

The Riverview lodge at Clifty Falls State Park is coming down for a new building.

Construction on the building is slated to begin next June, with completion expected in time for the 2005 summer season, Hinton said. Several other projects are also planned for the same time period.
The inn’s 250-seat Overlook conference room will be torn down and replaced by a new and larger conference room. Nearly twice the size of the current room, the new Overlook room will seat more than 400 and will also feature a “pre-function break-out room” and two smaller meeting rooms, according to Hinton.
Outside the Overlook room, adjacent to the dining room will be a new terraced and landscaped amphitheater, which could be used for outdoor weddings, said Hinton.
“Our goals is to make (the inn) a corporate retreat and wedding center where we can draw larger crowds in,” Hinton said about the addition of an amphitheater and a larger conference room.
Also planned for the main lodge is an extension in the back, behind the indoor pool, which will allow for an expanded recreation center. The current game room, now a small room located adjacent to the pool, will be converted to an exercise room. Games will be moved to the new recreation center, which will also feature several new games.
Enlargement of the gift shop in the front of the inn and the Cincinnati Lounge, which is adjacent to the dining room, are also planned.
When all is said and done, the inn will be virtually a brand-new facility. “I think Madison will be very proud of it,” said Hinton.
Designs of the new lodge and main lodge additions will be provided by Ratio Architects of Indianapolis. The company also did the design work for the Lodge Brothers Apartment building downtown. A construction contract has not yet been awarded.
The last renovation project at the inn took place about four years ago, Hinton said. Then, two rennovated wings of guests rooms were connected to the main lodge, as well as a new indoor swimming pool and hot tub and game room.



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