Roomy addition

New inn, conference center
dedicated at Clifty Falls State Park

By Don Ward

(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 Room.

Clifty Inn Ribbon Cutting

Photo by Don Ward

Taking 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 DNR’s 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.

Clifty Inn Bridge

Photo by Don Ward

The 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 the remodel.
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 amenities.
"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.

Clifty Inn Hotel Wing

Photo by Don Ward

Clifty Inn’s new hotel wing offers
three king suites as modern as
any 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.

Back to May 2006 Articles.



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