This all intrigues me. Who will ever forget in the mid-1990s when Floyd County voters said no to riverboat gambling — twice. So the boat located in Harrison County, right across the Floyd County line.
Remember the anti-boat campaign, which was both well organized and funded? The folks against the boat said it would bring crime to New Albany, prostitutes would be walking the streets and how our town would go to hell right in front of us.
Like many scare tactics, the campaign worked and voters overwhelmingly defeated the boat. But just think if the boat had docked on the New Albany shoreline. Our city and county would have probably enjoyed a decade of financial peace with the additional tax revenue and more organizations would have benefited from the foundation’s generosity.
Had the boat located in New Albany, visitors would also not have to drive down and back on the deathtrap that is Ind. 111 to get to the casino. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think the mob has settled in Elizabeth, nor do I believe the town has hookers standing on street corners.
But like this city has done on more than one occasion, we said no to prosperity. And that was not really surprising. Remember, the New Albany City Council approved the YMCA funding package by a slim 5-4 vote a decade ago, and that was after the foundation had made its $20 million commitment.
I always enjoy attending the two ceremonies each year when Horseshoe grants are handed out to deserving organizations. Folks are so happy and excited to have the funds to purchase bleachers at the Floyd County 4-H Fairgrounds or SMARTboards for schools. But I always wonder how many of those attending with smiles on their faces said no to the boat.