Skillman makes stopover in Berne Tuesday
Indiana Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman stood and listened to the musical chimes of the Swiss Clock Tower on Tuesday afternoon during a stopover in Berne.
"It's a spiritual moment, isn't it," said Skillman with a tinge of emotion in her voice.
"We think so," responded Berne Attorney James Beitler, with equal warmth.
Indiana State Representative Matt Lehman recalled a day seven years ago before the development of the clock tower area when Skillman visited the same spot and listened to the vision of local leaders.
"She remembers," said Lehman. "She recalls the gas station and the asphalt parking lot. It is obvious that she is very moved and excited about this. This is great; it's always great to have the lieutenant governor in town.
"This shows how much interest she has in the small communities of our state," continued Lehman. "A lot of people who come to Berne tend to come back again. Our community tends to have a draw on them."
"I certainly did not visualize this when I stood in this same location seven years ago," said Skillman. "The local leaders had a great vision for showcasing the heritage of this community. To witness the actual clock tower now; this is far more than I ever could have imagined.
"This is especially impressive during tough economic times like we've gone through," continued Skillman. "Something like this showcasing the values and principles of this community can be very instrumental in attracting businesses and jobs. What a treasure."
Skillman told a large group of local business leaders who came to greet her that there is no better way to enhance community development which, she stressed, leads to economic development.
The lieutenant governor told those present that she had come from Bedford, known for its Indiana limestone.
"We don't have anything of this magnitude," quipped Skillman. "We have to take visitors out to the quarry to show them our heritage."
"This comes from our hearts," said former First Bank of Berne president Charles Isch, who has been instrumental in many of the community development projects throughout the city.
"Our ancestors came from Switzerland," said Isch. "This represents the things that we value."
Skillman listened carefully as Mayor Bill McKean and attorney Dave Baumgartner, representing the Berne Community Development Corporation, described the various steps that are being taken to continue to develop the plaza surrounding the clock tower.
"It's pretty neat that she took out time to come here," said McKean. "She goes all over the state. This is something she wanted to do; she came here early when things were just getting started."
Skillman said that all Hoosiers need to take note to understand what an opportunity there is in developing their local heritage.
"This was a real spiritual moment for me, especially when the glockenspiel played the musical score of, 'Back Home Again in Indiana,'" said Skillman, who admitted that she felt strong emotion during the historical presentation.
"I oversee the state's tourism efforts. In these hard economic times, this is one industry (tourism) that remains stable," continued Skillman. "Hoosiers value what they have and cherish their community heritage."
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