WASHINGTON CO., Ind. (WDRB) -- Leaders in two small Southern Indiana towns believe a relatively new national hotel chain will give their communities an economic shot in the arm.

Salem and Charlestown will soon be the home to a new Cobblestone Hotel.

It will be the first Cobblestone Hotel in Indiana in Salem.

Construction continues not far from the town square where the hotel is expected to open later in the spring.

"Look at it as a miniature Holiday Inn Express, it is a 44-room hotel, so that size is ideal for this community," said Ron Haendiges, one of the local investors in the hotel.

Cobblestone is a relatively new hotel company that, according to its website, opened its first hotel in 2008 and now has 35 properties, mostly in the Midwest.

Twelve projects, including the one in Salem are under construction and 45 others, like the one in Charlestown, are under development.

Cobblestone hotels specialize in towns with populations between 2,000 and 10,000 people. Salem has about 7,000 people.

"It will allow us to provide high-quality lodging so people who come into town won't have to turn around and go back out to another county for overnight accommodations," Haendiges added.

The mayor says the new hotel will be a boost to economic development.

"Tourism is a big part of any small community," said Salem Mayor David Bower, "and we are blessed with one of the prettiest courthouses in Indiana, the speedway, and we have a great museum. This hotel lends itself to people coming into our community and staying overnight."

Thirty miles to the east, another Cobblestone Hotel is planned on a site just off Highway 62 in Charlestown, population 8,000.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for next month with opening by fall.

It will be the first hotel in Charlestown for many years.

"We have tons of people visiting our businesses and our industrial park," said Charlestown Mayor Bob Hall, "the hotel fills a niche that has not been filled previously, an addition to the community."

Mayor Hall says he believes the new hotel will bring other businesses into the community as Charlestown prepares for expected growth once the East End Bridge opens and as the nearby River Ridge Commerce Center continues to expand.

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