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Jewel shines again Continued from Page 27


During the years Hennessee served as mayor, from 1999 to 2006, the city and volunteers began putting a new coat of paint on the town. Crumbling infrastructure received a facelift that continues today, and new residents began to trickle in, many of them buying into the notion Medicine Park could rise again. “People began to realize there were positive things being done for the community,” Hennessee said. “There were some skeptics in the beginning, because the town had been dormant for 30 or 35 years. “Up until the mid-1990s, economic growth was pretty much a dead issue, but things have been very positive in the last several years. There are a lot more people paying attention and becoming involved. “Our population is now around 400, and we’re working all the time on adding new things to attract people to town.” As 2016 arrived, Hennessee was serving as interim mayor for a very proac- tive city council that includes Buddy Dye, Mark Wicks and two former mayors, Chaz Callich and Dwight Cope, whose idea of starting several music events has helped fuel Medicine Park’s rebirth.


In addition to the city council, two other entities have been instrumental in the revitalization process—the Medicine Park Economic Development


Authority and the Medicine Park Planning & Preservation Committee. “We serve Medicine Park as the benefi ciary of the town trust,” said MPEDA


Chair Jean Schucker. “We assist with loans to businesses for expansion or improvements, and we assist with bringing new businesses to town.” Barbara Boguski is chair of the Planning & Preservation Committee, where her background of 25 years in the fi lm and entertainment industry is put to good use. “The Planning & Preservation Committee does what I call the ‘not-sexy stuff,’” the New Jersey native said. “We help regulate business permits, build- ing permits and construction permits.” Boguski said the committee accomplishes its tasks “while trying to preserve the integrity of the original town’s ‘aura’ as an arts community. “Our job is to help maintain the original essence of the town but not


hinder it from being viable. We weigh in with committee funds and we work hand-in-hand with other entities.”


Among the attractions that bring folks to town are the Medicine Park Trail, Bath Lake Swimming Hole, Gondola Lake and Dam, Lake Drive, thriving fi shing holes and the 16 metal sculptures by Robert Dean that are distributed around town. The area’s history is represented by The Old Plantation, which was built in 1909 as the Medicine Park Hotel, the Veterans Monument and the Sanders House.


Also this year, the area’s history will be enhanced by the opening of the


Medicine Park Aquarium and Natural Science Center. Tourists can fi nd lodg- ing at The Plantation Inn, Medicine Creek Lodging and The White Horse Lodge. In addition to cabins and campsites, Hennessee said, “There are also many bed and breakfasts in town and in the area.”


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