Letters: Find a better site for Maple Leaf concert hall

To the editor:

The proposed Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center would put a 2,000-seat concert hall next to one of the prime retirement communities in the state of Indiana. While the performing arts center is a good idea and has been talked about for many years, the chosen site is not only poor planning, it is a bad idea.

Located right below Town Hill and straddling the Salt Creek Trail, it will be accessible from State Road 46 via Hawthorne Drive, which is already a congested area at times in terms of traffic.

To get to the Maple Leaf for a performance — on weekends maybe twice, late afternoon and evening — the traffic will have to move right through this quiet retirement community, past the Brown County community care center (Brown County Health & Living Community) and the two senior apartments, Hawthorne Hills and Willow Manor.

The Brown County Health & Living Community advertises itself: “When you visit Brown County Health & Living Community, the warm welcome from residents and staff makes you feel instantly at home. Our quiet setting offers an inviting mix of town and country, from comforting views of cattle grazing in green fields right next door to the surrounding charming town of Nashville, Indiana, the center of the Brown County Art Colony.” (browncountyhealth.us)

The senior apartments: “Hawthorne Hills is our 55 and older twin sister community to Willow Manor. We are conveniently located across the street and have the same country lodge feel and surroundings.”

Hawthorne Drive will be seeing a lot more traffic. The police department building would have to be demolished in order to access the Maple Leaf from Hawthorne Drive. The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) has directed that those coming in from the west can turn into the new access road (between Snyder Farm and Salt Creek Plaza) called Maple Leaf Boulevard and those exiting the access road from Maple Leaf can only turn right (east). Chestnut Street will be used to connect to Maple Leaf Boulevard.

I live behind the Little Nashville Opry, now gone, and was able to observe traffic and noise firsthand. While the traffic congestion was bad enough and it was difficult to get in and out of our street, the noise was the far bigger problem.

I am not talking about the inside noise; that was contained. Traffic noise is not only an annoyance, it causes distress, especially to older people and to those who are sick. It is referred to as “noise pollution.” The traffic noise starts in the afternoon when the performers’ vans and buses arrive. They are air-conditioned, because of instruments and other valuables, and were never turned off. Then, the patrons start to arrive in cars, buses, trucks — newer and older ones — and motorcycles.

It is hard to believe that the Brown County Commissioners, the Nashville Town Council and the Brown County Area Plan Commission would go along with the current site for the Maple Leaf, knowing what it would do this retirement community. Especially the community care center is dear to many of us who visited loved ones and friends there.

Brown County is a special place with special people and we have always done best working together. I am sure a better site and solution could be found, with some community conversations, and give-and-take between the Brown County citizens and our elected and appointed officials.

Ruth Reichmann, Brown County

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