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Mayoral Bicentennial Address

Dear Citizens of Rushville and Rush County:

It is with extreme pride that I reminisce on the past year of Bicentennial celebrations. The City of Rushville have been full of joyous celebration of the past 200 years of Rush County success. It is my deep honor to serve as the Mayor of Rushville during this momentous time. Over the past year, I have witnessed the community come together in a way that I have never seen before. Rush County’s Bicentennial celebration was the work of a thousand different hands. Today, I would like to recognize both the events and hands that made this past year of celebration spectacular.

Over the past year, thousands of people have flooded into Rushville to celebrate Rush County’s Bicentennial. From the Throwback Thursday historical film showings to the Celebration Saturdays to the culminating Bicentennial Concert, the City of Rushville has seen record-breaking growth in our downtown corridor. Driving into downtown, people are met with the newest art additions celebrating Rush County’s heritage: the Bicentennial mural, the downtown art restoration, the RUSH sculpture, and the larger-than-life guitar. Walking on main street, you see Bicentennial promotions all around. The over the street banners, pole banners, and merchandise (t-shirts, buttons, flags, cups, cookbooks, history books, coloring books), truly exhibit Rushville’s pride in celebrating its 200th birthday. Pulling out your phone, you can visit the Bicentennial website and social media. The place where information about Bicentennial Bargain Days, the stamp cancellation, and the 200 Bicentennial trees sponsored by Duke Energy. Rush County has been wholeheartedly celebrating its Bicentennial in big ways for 365 days.

However, the small things cannot go unnoticed as well: the Bicentennial ribbons awards during the Rush County Fair, the historical posters on Main Street, the Fastest Kid Bicentennial Race, the 4th of July Feature TQ Midget Bicentennial Race, the Bicentennial Pickle Ball Tournament, the 200 bike helmets given out by the Rushville police department, and more. Both the big and the small projects celebrated Rush County’s history in a hundred different ways.

While Rush County Bicentennial celebrations were all around, the City of Rushville also saw numerous complimentary projects continue to grow. With a historic investment of $259 million into a 700,00 sq. ft. facility, Diamond Pet Food officially broke ground in September. Recently, it was announced that the REC Community Center has reached full funding ($24 million) and will be breaking ground within the next year. The Jefferson Helm House has received $100,000 toward the restoration of the historic house. Milroy saw a new mural. The Rush County Courthouse has a new roof and tuckpointing. The Commerce Park @ Rushville saw its first addition with the Frito-Lay Distribution center. 2022 will forever have a place in history as the greatest Bicentennial celebration and the year of outstanding economic development.

To the citizens of Rushville, thank you for giving us this opportunity to celebrate. We are living in history, and the citizens of Rush County are continuing to make it a history to remember. Rushville is a city small in numbers, but not in spirit. It is because of you that this year was such a success. I am constantly blown away by the support, love, and passion that residents of Rushville have toward this great city, county, and community.

I would like to personally thank the behind-the-scenes hands that made the Bicentennial Celebration a success. Brian Sheehan chaired the Rush County Bicentennial Committee and acted as the guiding force in many of the events, activities, and celebrations that happened this past year. The City of Rushville Interns (Nicholas Neuman, Riley Sheehan, Lexey Yager, Nick Lawler, and Carter Tague) dedicated countless hours to ensuring that many of Brian and I’s crazy Bicentennial ideas came to fruition. The City of Rushville Fire, Police, Street, and Utilities departments worked constantly monitoring events and helping them flow smoothly.

This Bicentennial Celebration would not have been possible without the generous giving of our donors and supporters. The City of Rushville, Rush County Community Foundation, Emerson Copeland, Rush County Government, Riverside Park, and Rush County Chamber of Commerce, along with dozens of others financially supported our Bicentennial Celebrations.

It is truly amazing that the City, County, and Community has been able to accomplish so much in so little time. From record attendance to record investment, the City of Rushville and Rush County have thrived during our Bicentennial year. We are forever thankful for the opportunity to celebrate our people, and we are further committed to capitalizing on this momentum and ensuring that Rush County continues to lead the way in rural Indiana for the next 200 years. For one last time, Happy Bicentennial, Rush County!

Grateful for this great city,

Mayor Mike Pavey

200 Trees Planted for Rush County’s Bicentennial

On Saturday, October 22nd, The City of Rushville Parks Department and countless volunteers planted 200 tree to celebrate Rush County’s Bicentennial year. The Bicentennial Tree Project was financed through the generous support of a Duke Energy Nature Grant.

The City of Rushville currently has seven active parks totaling over 80 acres (North and South Memorial, Carol Jenkins-Davis, Laughlin, Discovery, Willkie, and Riverside). Many of the parks boast wide-paved trails that are stroller and ADA wheelchair accessible. The paths are frequented by walkers, yet still lack the natural growth that would bring them to their full beauty. This addition of 200 trees to the Rushville Parks system will continue to aid in the beautification and conservation efforts of the Parks Department.

“Planting 200 trees for a Bicentennial celebration is almost unheard of,” comments Rushville Mayor Mike Pavey. “But through the support of Duke Energy, Rushville is once again making a commitment to Rush County and its beautiful parks systems.”

Historically, Rushville has lost several mature trees to INDOT projects, storms, and the infestation of the emerald ash borer. This project, and accompanying grant, is dedicated to creating shade and overall visual improvement in our underdeveloped parks and properties. The Rushville Bicentennial Tree Project serves as a commitment to a cleaner, greener community and the next 200 years.

This project was made possible by countless volunteers and City of Rushville employees that dedicated their time and effort toward the rejuvenation of the Parks’ green spaces. The Duke Energy Grant was co-authored by Kathi Jackley (Parks Department Natural Resource and Program Coordinator) and Nicholas Neuman (City of Rushville Intern). The planting was coordinated by Kathi Jackley and the City of Rushville Parks Department. This tree planting was just one small part in Rush County’s Bicentennial celebration and Rushville’s parks beautification. It is because of the support of Duke Energy, the work of the Parks and Recreation Department, and the support of the community that this project was possible.

Rush County Bicentennial Commemorative Items Available for Purchase

As Rush County’s Bicentennial year concludes, commemorative items are being made available for purchase to continue honoring, celebrating, and remembering Rush County’s 200th year. Commemorative prints, Christmas Ornaments, Bicentennial banners, and the Bicentennial Book are some of the final items that will be made available for purchase as we celebrate Rush County’s Bicentennial.

PRINTS: The City of Rushville and Rush County Bicentennial Committee commissioned artist Jingo de la Rosa of Indianapolis to create seven commemorate Bicentennial watercolor prints. The Bicentennial watercolor set includes the following historic Rush County locations/events: Rush County Courthouse, Rushville City Center, Kennedy Covered Bridge, Rushville Amphitheater and Concert Series, TQ Midget Race, Steam Engine Show, and Rushville’s Main Street.

“These Bicentennial watercolor prints will capture the history of Rush County as we see it today,” comments Brian Sheehan, Bicentennial Committee Chairman. “In 50 years, we will reflect back on these prints and continued to be impressed by the growth of Rush County.”

Taking inspiration from the 1972 Sesquicentennial black and white prints, these watercolor prints can be purchased at the City Center. Only 100 sets are available for purchase. The Bicentennial print set will be available for purchase for $50. Thank you to HWC Engineering and Hoosier Solar for sponsoring the creation and printing of these Bicentennial prints.

ORNAMENTS: Bicentennial Christmas Ornaments are available for purchase for $10 from the City Center and Mocha Moose. The ornament features the Rush County Bicentennial design cast in custom soft enamel. Only about 70 remain. These prints and ornaments will make for an amazing Christmas/holiday gift.

BANNERS: Bicentennial Banners that were displayed downtown throughout the Bicentennial year are also for sale. They are $50 per banner. All three types/colors are available for purchase. The money raised from this will help the City of Rushville and Heart of Rushville purchase new street banners for downtown celebrations. There are only 17 of each type available.

BOOK: The Rush County Bicentennial Books are still available for purchase at the Rushville Public Library. Reflections of Rush County is a 128-page book that contains the history of Rush County from its creation in 1822 to present-day 2022. The cost of the book is $40 plus tax payable to the Rushville Public Library. To purchase a book, visit the Library at 130 W. Third Street or call at (765) 932 – 3496. Only 30 copies remain!

Rush County Comedy Show was a Hit

On September 24th, the Princess Theater welcomed six comedians and 156 guests through its doors for the final Rush County Bicentennial Event. The comedy show was well received with laughter filling the Princess Theater the entire evening.

The Rush County Comedy show was the final Bicentennial Celebration Saturday events. In the first-ever show of its kinds, comedians Jake Smith, Brent Terhune, Dyke Michaels, Dustin Burkert, Shannon Rostin, and Conor Delehanty took center stage in front of a packed audience. Rushville own, Jake Smith, acted as the host of the event with Brent Terhun serving as the headliner of the night. The event was sponsored and made possible by Larry Mull and Elevate Entertainment & Events, LLC. Beverages were provided by BarMaids.

“The Rush County Comedy show marks a new beginning for events and programming in the City Center and Princess Theater through its creative use of the space and facilities,” comments Mayor Mike Pavey. “Since its restoration, we have aimed to host events like this in the Princess Theater. It was refreshing to see our goal become a reality.”   While Bicentennial events may be coming to a close, programming is still ongoing. As the Christmas season approaches, commemorative Bicentennial prints and ornaments will be made available for purchase. For questions concerning the Bicentennial celebrations, contact Brian Sheehan, Bicentennial Committee Chairman, at (765) 932 – 3735.

Rush County’s Bicentennial Celebration was Record-Breaking

The culminating celebration of Rush County’s Bicentennial took place on Saturday, September 17th. The day was filled with festivities and fun as thousands of people flooded into the Rush County community to celebrate 200 years of its success and progress. From the Willkie Days Parade (Chamber of Commerce), Rushfest Downtown Festival (Chamber of Commerce), Covered Bridge Dinner (Heart of Rushville), Youth Art Show (Optimist Club – over 200 entries), the Willkie 5 in 50 Covered Bridge Bike Ride (United Fund – over 400 participants) to the Bicentennial Concert featuring Eddie Montgomery (Heart of Rushville/Riverside Park – over 5500 attendees), Rush County was alive with record-breaking celebrations.

“We are forever thankful for the opportunity to celebrate our people,” comments Mayor Mike Pavey. “We are further committed to capitalizing on this momentum and ensuring that Rush County continues to lead the way in rural Indiana for the next 200 years.”

The morning began with the third annual Five in 50 Bike Ride. It started in Rushville and included 12-mile, 24-mile, and 50-mile routes. The route took bicyclist through the five historic covered bridges and five Rush County towns. The Bike Ride had record-breaking attendance with over 400 riders participating. At 10 AM, the Bicentennial parade began with much celebration and excitement. Awards and $200 checks were presented by the Rush County Chamber of Commerce based upon creativity, historic heritage, and patriotism. Winner are as follows:

Mayor’s Choice – Rushville FFA

Chamber of Commerce’s Choice – Hoosier Youth Challenge Academy Cadets

Creative – Rushville FFA and Rush-Shelby Energy

Historic – Henry Henley Library in Carthage and R.L. Coon Excavating Inc.

Patriotic – Rush County Heritage and Rushville Elks

Following the Bicentennial Parade, RushFest was in full swing. Main Street was flooded as thousands shopped the vendors and enjoyed the charm of Rushville’s historic downtown. The Kidz Zone with activities including outside games, Touch-a-Truck, bounce house, obstacle course, and face painting were a smashing success. Thousands shopped local and supported businesses through the Bicentennial Bargain Days program. At 6 PM, over 5,500 people gathered at Riverside Park Amphitheater for the final concert of the Bicentennial Concert series and the Friends of Fred Food Trucks. Following Tyler Booth and Molly Hatchet, headliner Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry took center stage as we celebrated Rush County and showed why our town is “Something to be Proud of.”

Bicentennial Celebrations were coordinated by the Rush County Bicentennial Committee (Chairman Brian Sheehan) and financed from dozens of sponsoring organizations. Gold donors (+$10,000) include the City of Rushville, Rush County Government, Rush County Community Foundation, Rush County Chamber of Commerce, Riverside Park, and Emerson-Copeland. For a full list of sponsors, please refer to the Bicentennial Website (

While Bicentennial Celebrations may be slowing down for Rush County, they are not stopping. The City of Rushville Parks Department is in the process of finalizing details concerning the planting of 200 trees for Rush County’s Bicentennial. Commemorative Rush County Bicentennial prints and ornaments will be available for purchase as the Christmas season approaches. Rush County’s Bicentennial celebration has been record-breaking in nature and signifies a renewed commitment toward the growth and development of the county.

Bicentennial Mural Completed

Through the generous support of an Emerson-Copeland grant, the City of Rushville paid for the creation and painting of a commemorative Bicentennial mural along Campaign Flats on Main Street.

“For Rush County’s Bicentennial, we knew that we had to capture our 200 years of history in paint,” comments Rushville Director of Special Projects Brian Sheehan. “While also celebrating the Bicentennial, this mural will continue to beautify Rushville historic downtown and serve as a welcome sign to those visiting our great city.”

This block-style mural captures the spirit of Rushville and Rush County. In an artistic flare, the mural welcomes guests to Rushville’s downtown corridor. With images of the City Center, Courthouse, Overlook, TQ-Midget car, and Rushville lion, this mural features significant Rush County emblems. Moreover, the mural contains notable numbers and saying (“Leading the Way in Rural Indiana”) specific to Rush County.

It is because of artist Lance Woskobojnik and Intern Lexey Yager that this art piece went from dream to reality. Yager drafted a mural design after hearing input from the Mayor’s office and looking at similar “Instagram-able” murals. Woskobojnik and Yager met to clarify the vision and finalize a mural design. This beautiful addition to Rushville’s historic downtown came to life from that collaboration and talent. This mural was one of many additions to Rush County’s Bicentennial celebration and Rushville’s downtown beautification. It is because of the support of Emerson-Copeland the work of artist Lance Woskobojnik, and the support of the community that this project was possible. This mural marks the final large art project celebrating Rush County’s Bicentennial.

New Art in Rushville’s Downtown

New signage and art has gone up in downtown Rushville to celebrate Rush County’s Bicentennial. These additions were made possible through the generous support and work of dozens of individuals. Read below for an update on the new additions to Rushville’s Downtown.

RUSH Sculpture – The RUSH artwork was commissioned by the City of Rushville as a leave behind art project celebrating Rushville and Rush County’s Bicentennial. It is dedicated to those who choose to live, work, and play in Rush County. The sculpture was inspired by Robert Indiana’s famous LOVE sculpture. RUSH represents both the City and the County that were named in honor of Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signor of the Declaration of Independence. The following people/entities had a hand in the creation and installation of this beautiful artwork: Sponsor – Rush County Community Foundation; Artists / Fabricators – Starweld, Davis Towing, Pike’s Sandblasting, Bobby Thompson and Samani Design & Fabrication; Site preparation / concrete – City Street Department; Project Design/Oversight – Mayor Mike Pavey & Project Manager – Brian Sheehan.

Guitar Sculpture – The guitar sculpture was the idea of City of Rushville Street Commissioner Jemmy Miller. Jemmy convinced Street Dept. employee Bill Emerson that this was a project he could successfully complete. After roughly three months of intermittent work, this beautiful guitar emerged. It is because of individuals like Bill that Rushville continues to be able to celebrate its Bicentennial. The art piece is dedicated to all the citizens that share their time, treasure and talents to make Rushville a better place. The following individuals had a hand in the creation and development of the guitar sculpture: Sponsor – City of Rushville; Artist / Fabricator – Bill Emerson; Artist / Painter – Lance Woskobojnik; Powder Coating – Pike Sandblasting; Site work / Concrete / Installation – City Street Department.

Banners – The over-the-street banners and signage on Fishmoon’s building pay homage to the people, places, and things that make Rush County historic. The banners were paid for through a generous donation from Emerson-Copeland.

Bicentennial Mural – Over the next few weeks, artist Lance Woskobojnik will finish a commemorative Rush County Bicentennial mural on the south wall of the Campaign Flats building. The mural features significant Rush County monuments like the Courthouse, City Center, and Overlook Park. This block-style mural will bring a source of vibrancy and color to Rushville’s historic downtown. This artwork was co-designed by Intern Lexey Yager and artist Lance Woskobojnik. The mural has been paid for through the generous sponsorship of Emerson-Copeland. These new additions to downtown are paired with the beautiful flowers and floral arrangements along Rushville’s main street corridor. Each year, Vogel’s florist creates these arrangements, and the City of Rushville Street Department waters and maintains them. These beautiful additions to Rushville’s downtown mark a continued commitment to the next 200 years of Rush County history and success

Free Bicentennial Concert on Saturday, August 27th at Riverside Park

Rushville’s FREE Live by the Levee Bicentennial Concert series continues! With four successful concerts already having been completed, Riverside Park Amphitheater is excited to welcome the London Street Band to its stage. Head to Riverside Park (302 S. Riverside/120 W. Water Street Rushville, IN 46173) on Saturday, August 27th for a night of music and entertainment.

“Rushville’s free concert series is one of our pride and joys,” comments Joe Rathz, Heart of Rushville President. “What was once just a dream has become a source of entertainment for tens of thousands of people. Music truly is the heart of our community.”

The concert will be opened at 7 PM on Saturday, August 27th, by Tyler Hornback. The headliner, London Street Band (and Rushville’s own Jay Davis), will take stage at 8 PM.  Food and other vendors will be present for the duration of the performance. Alcohol will be sold for $4 under the Beer Garden pavilion on the south side of Riverside Park. Free parking is available in the Amphitheater parking lot and the lots at the Shampoo Bowl, City Hall, and Advance Auto Parts.

Bidding on the VIP/Super Fan Couch goes until Thursday, August 25th via Riverside Park’s Facebook page at 6:00 p.m. The lucky bidder and their five friends will be front and center enjoying 2 large 2 topping pizza’s (Courtesy of Pizza King) or a sub sandwich platter (Courtesy of Quickpix/Downtown Shell). They will also get to choose a drink package (Courtesy of the Amphitheater) which consists of their choice between a pop package (soda of choice) or a beer package, consisting of 6 tickets for beer or wine from the beer garden (Must show ID)

The Live by the Levee Concert series is free to the public through the gracious funding of numerous corporate and individual donors.  For more information on how to sponsors and/or get involved with the free Live by the Levee Concert series, head to The final concert of the Bicentennial Concert Series will take place on September 17th featuring Tyler Booth, Molly Hatchet, and Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry.

Historic Downtown Window Art Restored

Through the generous support of a Duke Energy grant, the City of Rushville paid for the painting and restoration of the historic downtown window art pieces along Main Street.

The paintings were originally done in 1972 for Rush County’s Sesquicentennial. At the time, there were other paintings, however, these nine windows are all that remain.

“For Rush County’s Bicentennial, we knew that we had to bring these historic art pieces back to their former glory,” comments Rushville Mayor Mike Pavey. “Their restoration signifies a new commitment to Rush County and our storied past.”

Each painting was meant to represent the businesses that were below it. The five ladies stood proudly over a women’s clothing store called Minears which opened in 1971. The man and women just North of the ladies are seen holding shoes with shoe storage behind them. They stood above Neff’s Shoe store, a store that had been there since 1933 and stayed open for several years. Lastly, the next man and woman pair stood over Cooper’s Jewelry.

The original five painted ladies were done by Carrie O’Hara Page Morrison. Her signature is on each of the five. It has always been said that the others were painted by Mel Gray, but no identification or proof can allow us to say that definitively. It is because of artist Lance Woskobojnik that these historic, beautiful, and unique Rushville art pieces were given new life.

This historic painting restoration was one small part in Rush County’s Bicentennial celebration and Rushville’s downtown beautification. It is because of the support of Duke Energy, the work of artist Lance Woskobojnik, and the support of the community that this project was possible. Happy 200 years Rushville!