GREENSBURG – Starting March 1, folks traveling on I-74 will be able to see the beloved Tower Tree from an interesting new viewpoint – a brand new billboard on the Honda side of I-74.
“They are just prohibitively expensive out on I-74, but for all the eyes that will see it, it’s worth the investment,” Director of the Decatur County Visitors Commission (Tourism) Philip Deiwert said. “And at 36 feet long and 10 and a half feet tall, you won’t be able to miss it.”
On I-74, about 15 minutes before travelers hit the first Greensburg exit, they’ll see a large billboard that will make them think “hmm...maybe I’ll stop there to get a cup of coffee – maybe I’ll stop there to visit those interesting shops on the Square – maybe I’ll...” Deiwert said. “I want to visit Greensburg.”
Honestly though, how many times have you seen another visitor to the square wandering around looking up or taking pictures (or both) of the tree-on-the-couthouse-tower? And how many times did you drive by again and roll your eyes at ANOTHER tourist?
“Yes, as natives, I’m sure some people get tired of tourists taking pictures. To us it’s old hat. We’ve seen that tree up there our whole lives – not a big deal, right?” Deiwert asks rhetorically. “Well, our team’s job is to get people who’ve never been here before want to take a closer look at that tree, and maybe stop for dinner, and maybe even move to Greensburg,” he said.
“That’s really the ultimate goal. And that’s a big deal,” he said.
‘Tourism’ (as natives know the Decatur County Visitors Commission colloquially) is a board of business owners, hotel managers, and local citizens interested in doing just that – getting people to take another look at the Tree on the Courthouse Tower.
“And sometimes it’s not easy too do, draw people to our downtown. But the tree is the way to start,” he said.
Greensburgians Erica Gunn, Daniel Fayette and Shelby County’s Kennedy Weaver (a marketing intern from IUPUI), with Deiwert as their mouth piece and meeting facilitator, are tasked daily with the job of getting folks to take another look at Greensburg.
“That’s the goal – check out the tree, come to the visitor center and get some pamphlets about all the cool things that are going on here and have lunch at the Carriage House, or Stories, or Mayasari or whatever,” Deiwert said. “Spend some dollars here – that’s the deal.
As for the brass tacks of designing the billboard image, it’s a 100 percent team effort.
“I said to the team ‘go design a billboard,’” he continued. “We had about a month to submit it to the design company, so I said take a week and come up with your best idea. We’ll fiddle with it and pick either the best idea, or a composite of all three, and we’ll go from there.”
So, working with public image editor Canva.com and Adobe Photoshop, they put together images from town with Fayette’s drone-photographed shots of the tower.
“Wrong, because I can be picky,” Deiwert said.
Admittedly a bit OCD, Deiwert said some of the shots – the tree with messy weeds growing out of the cracks; limbs chopped off because of a recent pruning, “they had to use their computers to clean up the shots, but wow, they sure did a great job,” he said.
“It just pops, and I can’t wait for people to start seeing it March 1,” he said.
So drive out there...at the intersection of 144 and I-74 South, and take a look at Greensburg’s newest promotion. It’ll be there for 13 months.
“And if that doesn’t work, if that doesn’t bring people in, we’ll just find another route to take,” Deiwert said, laughing defiantly.