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Riverboat Inn

New owner turning
former President Madison
into upscale inn

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(March 2007) – The President Madison Motel, something of a landmark in Madison, Ind., has new owners and a new name: Riverboat Inn. New owners Kathie Petkovic and her son, Nick, are remodeling the building with plans to add a casual-style and family friendly restaurant beside the inn. The duo are being assisted by co-owner Jeff Panella.
The three have envisioned a totally new look and atmosphere for the motel. “We want to be the baby boomer getaway,” said Kathie. “We want the weekend antique shoppers who come down from Cincinnati, traveling business people or the tourists attracted to the historic sites to stay with us and feel comfortable.”

Kathie Petkovic

Photos by Konnie McCollum

Kathie Petkovic says the new Riverboat
Inn will allow visitors to enjoy the
view of the Ohio River. It is the former
President Madison Motel (below).

President Madison Motel

Most of the renovations will be completed by mid-April, and an open house event for the community is being planned.
Kathie, who has been involved in the real estate business for more than 30 years, is an avid steamboat enthusiast. She has taken 35 trips with Delta Queen Steamboat Co. and has traveled many times up and down the Ohio River. She said she kept coming by Madison on her trips and “simply fell in love with the town.” She said a major decision in relocating to Madison was the fact that a “true” Catholic church, Prince of Peace, with permanent daily mass was established here.
For two years, she made frequent trips from her home in Santa Rosa, Fla., and searched for a house in Madison right along the river but could not find one. Finally, she was convinced to look at a house on Scenic View, saw it, and closed on the property in two days.
In the meantime, since she couldn’t find a house, she decided to invest in a business along the riverfront. In November, she put a contract on the old cotton mill building, but when she arrived back in Madison at Christmas time to close on the deal, the survey and other things were wrong.
She was directed to the President Madison Motel, saw the location, the spacious lawn and the river view, and decided to buy it instead. “We closed on the deal in mid-February, and here we are,” she said.
Plans for the motel include totally new decor, which will be centered on a riverboat theme. “The riverboats brought me here, and I love them, and that’s what we’re going with,” said Kathie.
She said the outside of the inn will be renovated to look like the deck of an 1890s riverboat, complete with comfortable white rocking chairs lined up so visitors can sit and enjoy the view of the river.
Although every room will be totally redone. The second floor of the inn will feature nice suites, each with an individual look and atmosphere. “We’re going with a bed and breakfast style; we want each room to be charming and unique in its own way,” she said.
Panella, who is also responsible for overseeing the renovations, said each room is being totally transformed with new wallpaper, hardwood floors for the upstairs rooms, new furniture and new plumbing and bathroom facilities.
Nick said eight of the upstairs suites will have wet bars, armoires and electric fireplaces. All of the linens will be high quality designer brands, including Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hillfiger.
He also said each room will be equipped with wireless Internet access, refrigerators, microwaves, hair dryers and coffee makers.
The new owners have applied for a liquor license for the lounge area, but are unsure when that will be approved. The new restaurant, which will also have a riverboat theme, will be called either the Paddleboat or the Pilot House.
It will be casual dining with both indoor and outdoor seating. Families will be more than welcome, and entertainment will be offered.
Kathie said the Riverboat Inn plans to host large family friendly events on the huge lawn. “We want people to come down, grab a bite to eat, listen to live entertainment and just relax on our incredible lawn,” she said.
Despite the extensive remodeling project, the Riverboat Inn is currently open for business.

• For more information, call (812) 265-2361.

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