Hodgenville Prepares for Lincoln Bicentennial

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The roads through the town square have been blocked since March.

The national spotlight's going to be on Hodgenville for a short period of time and we certainly want our community to look ready," said Larue County Judge-Executive and was appointed to the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission by former president Bill Clinton.

Downtown Hodgenville is getting ready for an incredible celebration to honor one of our most beloved former presidents.

"I just think it's great that the bicentennial's gonna be here next year and the president's supposed to be here in town; it's great for the whole community," said lifelong Hodgenville resident Donnie Propes.

Plans to re-construct the Hodgenville town square began in the 1960's but there wasn't enough money at that time to do it.

"It's been really challenging but it's gone well. We're really proud of it," said Mayor Terry Cruse.

Lincoln's presidential statue was erected one hundred years ago.

Now, a new statue of Lincoln as a child will sit across from it.

"It should do nothing but increase tourism traffic and mean more dollars left here," Turner said.

The construction has had its growing pains for downtown businesses.

Since the square has been closed off, the Sweet Shoppe has had to cut its hours.

"It's been really slow," admitted employee Nancy Parrish.

The Sweet Shoppe used to be open Monday thru Saturday but until this week has only been open on weekends.

"I know it's gonna be pretty when they get done. It's going to be kind of confusing though because we're used to driving through town and now we're gonna have to drive around," said Parrish.

Parrish realizes despite the inconveniences, the end result will hopefully mean more tourists and customers.

"It's exciting! I wonder how busy we will be and how many tourists will come in," Parrish said.

"We want to ensure that our activities have a legacy effect and that people will have interest in the Lincoln heritage for many years to come," said Turner.

The million dollar project is expected to be completed by October.

Roads through the town square will open again next week, however.

President Lincoln's bicentennial celebration kicks off on his birthday February 12, 2008.

President Bush is scheduled to speak.

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