To the best of my often partly cloudy recollection, I have been writing publisher’s letters in Evansville Business for the last 11 years. As I have written about before, it is always the last item that goes into Evansville Business on the day it goes to print and, on this very rainy morning, let’s just say today is no exception. Over the years, I have been threatened, bribed, yelled at, and shamed over this procrastination and — depending on how you, the reader, look at it — this important task.
Every once in awhile at varying intervals, sort of like my workout schedule, I feel the need to give way to the desire of letting the thoughts flow at random, and as I am trying a new tact this morning with my much put-upon marketing assistant Valerie, who is typing as I am whittling down my long-winded tangents; well, I just hope you can feel her pain — and frankly, if you know me, I bet you can. So, allow me to get started.
First, let’s talk about the Downtown hotel project. It is almost cliché to say that our city needs to stop playing politics with the convention hotel and act in the best interests of the community. This is a city renowned for “studies” and “master plans,” many of which have shown that we have a significant need for a Downtown hotel. Let me also throw my two cents in to say that it needs to be done as nicely as possible. These types of opportunities are not afforded to us very often. Is it expensive? Yes. Are the city’s incentives to the developer a bit too high? Perhaps. But if we want to attract, recruit, and retain those who are interested in our community, don’t we deserve, as a community, to pursue things in a first-class manner? The idea of doing this at any less than first class concerns me in a city that often suffers from its own “municipal self-esteem complex.” Let’s do this project, do it right, and be proud of our combined effort. Indianapolis is not the only Indiana city that deserves nice things.
It seems like there literally is a bank on every corner in our fair city. However, banking consultants unfailingly state that Evansville is under-banked. It is then interesting to look at the cover story “The Changing Face of Local Banking” (page 30), by Victoria Grabner, managing editor. As you make your daily drives through Evansville, take a look at the different banks that are now in our market — many of which are small community banks — and note the names many of us were not, perhaps, familiar with not all that long ago yet now have a large footprint here. Off the top of my increasingly balding head, I can quickly think of Banterra, First Bank, Evansville State, German American, Evansville Commerce, Legence, as well as the bank on the cover, First Security. Would anyone, 10 years ago, have thought that this Owensboro-based bank would be the occupant of the former Integra headquarters at Third and Locust streets? I would guess not. While there are certain advantages and services associated with our much larger banks, as evidenced in the story, there are certainly advantages to community banking, as well, and I hope you enjoy the story.
Let me now tell you something that I am extremely proud of. The magazine business is challenging, difficult, and yet immensely rewarding in that we feel that a major part of our mission is to inform, entertain, and positively spotlight and impact our community. I commend those who have recently embarked on a positive PR campaign of shedding some less-than-scientific studies and labels of our community. At Tucker Publishing Group, we have been writing about, and showcasing, the best that our city and community have to offer every day for more than 13 years. And I am damn proud of that.
As always, I look forward to hearing from you.
Todd A. Tucker