inn, conference center
dedicated at Clifty Falls State Park
(May 2006) Clifty Falls State Park, Madison
area officials and those from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources
on April 7 celebrated the grand opening of the new inn and conference
center with an open house, tours and dedication ceremony in the Overlook
by Don Ward
part in the Clifty Inn
ribbon-cutting April 7 are (from left)
park naturalist Darrell Skinner, Madison
Mayor Al Huntington, Indiana DNR director
Kyle Hupfer, the DNRs Dan Bortner and
Gary Miller, Clifty Inn manager Karen
Hinton and new mascot Cliff T. Falls. The
open house attracted about 300 people.
Throughout the day, about 300 people were estimated to
have attended the open house or ceremony, said Clifty Inn manager Karen
Hinton. She also introduced the inn's new mascot, Cliff T. Falls, a
character whom Hinton conceived as a fun way to greet tour buses and
participate in children's activities and bonfires.
"Clifty Falls State Park has always had a number of natural features
that make a visit very special, said DNR Director Kyle Hupfer. "With
the addition of the new inn and conference center, a business meeting
or a family outing will now be even more memorable."
The inn and conference center were re-built and refurbished at a cost
of $8.8 million. The funds came from $3.5 million appropriated funds,
$1.6 million from savings realized by re-financing the old bond and
a new bond for the balance.
The old 36-room Riverview section was demolished and a new section built
with 37 rooms and three suites. The old conference center was demolished
and replaced by a new, larger main conference center, a secondary meeting
room, pre-function space and public restrooms. The kitchen and storage
areas of the inn were extensively remodeled.
Finally, the parking lot was remodeled, and an overflow lot added, a
bridge connector between the Riverview wing and the inn was built, a
sun porch was remodeled and an outdoor program area was added with a
fire ring near the conference rooms.
The old Riverview wing had a number of problems including water leakage,
roof problems, siding problems, plumbing, and more. Engineers and architects
examined the building and determined it would be nearly as expensive
to rehabilitate the old structures as to build new ones.
by Don Ward
new bridge connecting the lodge
to the new hotel wing is considered
the signature of the new addition.
The conference center had many of the same problems, but
there were also concerns about the long-term stability of the structure.
The need for a larger space also added to the decision to replace rather
Clifty Inn now has 71 guest rooms, including three king suites. The
dining rooms seats 250 with meeting rooms that can be divided for smaller
groups. An outdoor program area with fire ring has been added to the
"This is first class; this makes us the premiere state part in
the state of Indiana," bragged Madison Mayor Al Huntington.
Hupfer said the conference center is so popular that groups have to
use hotels in town to meet their lodging needs.
Dan Bortner of the DNR read some historical information about Clifty
Inn, which originally opened on Aug. 24, 1924, in what was the state's
third state park. An estimated 31,993 visitors came through the gates
that first year.
by Don Ward
Inns new hotel wing offers
three king suites as modern as
luxury hotel, officials say.
The park and inn suffered extensive damage during the
April 1974 tornado that struck Madison and was later rebuilt.
"Our park is unusual from other parks in that it is located so
close to our downtown business area, so it is a real boon to our local
economy," Huntington said. He cited tourism office estimates that
425,000 people visit Madison each year, many of them coming because
of the state park.
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