Opening Day

Oldham Chamber to dedicate new Visitors Center, offices in La Grange

New complex is financed by The Rawlings Foundation

LA GRANGE, Ky. (September 2014) – Many local residents of La Grange believe the town needed a permanent, visible Visitors Center for anyone new to the area, or just passing through, to enjoy. Due to the generosity of the Rawlings Foundation, this dream is almost a reality.


Photo by Helen McKinney

From left, David Bizianes and Deana Epperly Karem of the Oldham County Chamber pose outside the new CityPlace.

On Saturday, Sept. 13 from 7-9 p.m., a free special dedication celebration will be held for the new CityPlace Visitor Center. The public is welcome to attend. Located at 112 S. First Ave. in La Grange, the Visitor Center is comprised of three buildings.
One of the buildings will house offices and be the new home of the Oldham Chamber & Economic Development. “This is not only a wonderful gift to members and the Chamber itself, but a much needed amenity for Oldham County and a treasure for our entire community,” said Deana Epperly Karem, Executive Director of the Oldham Chamber & Economic Development.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for the Chamber. It offers our organization fresh new space, and a major presence in downtown La Grange,” she said. The chamber was previously located in the old Train Depot at 412 E. Main St.
“We’ve been very grateful to Oldham County Fiscal Court for allowing the chamber to utilize the Train Depot for more than 10 years now,” said Karem. “It’s been a great space for the organization.”
She called the new CityPlace Visitor Center “a class-A office space and offers us more visibility to the public. It is more logical for a visitor center, and I think we’ll see a lot more traffic in the office.”

CiyyPlace Grand Opening

• 7-9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13 at 112 S. First Ave., La Grange, Ky.

• Featuring performances by the Louisville Philharmonia – The Musicians’ Orchestra and Louisville Chorus. Free. Public welcome.

• Information: (502) 222-1635

In addition to serving as a Visitors Center, a pavilion in the back of the property offers space for concerts and community events. A courtyard adds to the overall charm of the space and makes it the perfect setting for outdoor entertainment as well as indoor, Karem said.
The pavilion will be available for rentals, such as exposition space, trade show, public meetings, convention and conference center, said Karen Greenwell, administrator for CityPlace and an employee of The Rawlings Foundation.
Presented by The Rawlings Foundation, the dedication celebration will feature the Louisville Phil-harmonia – The Musicians’ Orchestra and Louisville Chorus. No picnic items, chairs or pets are allowed. This is a smoke free, alcohol free event on the plaza grounds featuring family-friendly music consisting of show tunes, classics and even Disney favorites. Theater seating and bleacher seating will be available.
Jim Zimmerman of La Grange will emcee the dedication. The Rev. Tony Rose of La Grange Baptist Church will offer the dedication prayer, said Greenwell.
The concert will be held rain or shine, she said. “Should it rain, the concert will be moved inside with plenty of seating. CityPlace is equipped with two spacious pavilions and state-of-the-art technology that will allow us to seat hundreds inside one of the pavilions and show the concert live on multiple large screens in the other pavilion for our overflow crowd.”
The public can park at Immaculate Conception, The Rawlings Company, La Grange Baptist Church and throughout the downtown. Shuttles will be running to and from the concert at all of these locations.
La Grange Mayor Bill Lammlein said, “I’m tickled to death to have the Rawlings Company and the Rawlings Foundation in La Grange. I’m pleased that George Rawlings thinks enough of La Grange to have this here. He’s very supportive of the community and has provided funding for the use of improvements around the city.”
The Rawlings Group is the largest and most established insurance claims recovery company in the industry. A statement on the company website reiterates the reason the Rawlings Foundation has such a vested interest in La Grange: “The Rawlings Group is proud to be a responsible corporate citizen, improving the quality of life for others and making a difference in communities across the country and around the world. The Rawlings Foundation has contributed millions of dollars annually to support an array of worthwhile causes and organizations.”
Karem said, “We’re very excited and we are very grateful to The Rawlings Foundation and George Rawlings for his investment and confidence in us that we are the right folks for the Center. We plan to represent the community and the Foundation well.”
Discover Downtown La Grange will also have a spot to use at City Place. “We are helping the chamber and CityPlace by providing some support at the volunteer receptionist desk in the new building,” said Nancy Griffin, director for Discover Downtown La Grange. “Our volunteers will support CityPlace and the chamber with greeting and directing guests.”
For the past several years, Discover Downtown La Grange has had an office in the Welcome Center on 100 Poplar Alley. Previous directors have worked from home, but “we will continue to have our primary office space on Poplar Alley in the Little Blue House,” Griffin said.
As to the esthetics of the new CityPlace, “We are excited that visitors pulling into town will have a brand new high-tech building and a gorgeous new water feature and landscaped garden to enjoy,” Griffin said. “I think it will really help us spread the word to visitors about what a great downtown area we have just off of the interstate.”
The new Visitors Center has many advantages, according to Griffin. “It should help us pull our visitors into the downtown area to explore further our great restaurants, creative and beautiful shops, and of course, experience our Main Street running train.”

• For more information contact the Oldham County Chamber & Economic Development at (502) 222-1635 or visit: www.OldhamCountyChamber.com.

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