Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Owensboro improves ranking on Forbes survey

Owensboro ranked 52nd among 179 smaller metros as good places to start businesses or careers, according to the Forbes Magazine 10th annual Best Places for Business and Careers survey. The ranking include the 112,000 metro area, which includes Daviess, Hancock and McLean counties

Owensboro ranks fourth among the nation's smaller metropolitan areas in the number of colleges per capita.

"Most of the top 50 are towns with large colleges and universities or state capitals," said Nick Brake, president of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp. "Any time you rank that high on a survey in a publication like Forbes, it's good."

Sioux Falls, S.D., topped the list. Saginaw, Mich., came in last.

Owensboro ranked high compared to the 10 peer communities across the country used for measurement comparisions. The only two that came in higher than Owensboro were Dubuque, Iowa (18th) and Jonesboro, Ark. (46th).

In Kentucky, Bowling Green was 12th among smaller metros. Elizabethtown ranked 120th in the survey.

Among large metros -- 240,000 people or more -- Lexington ranked fifth; Louisville, 91st; Hopkinsville-Clarksville, Tenn., 117th; and Evansville-Henderson, 136th.

Owensboro's ranking by category shows:

Colleges: 4; Cost Of Living: 17; Crime Rate: 46; Cost of Doing Business: 47; Income Growth: 80; Net Migration: 110; Job Growth: 118; Educational Attainment: 131; Culture & Leisure: 142
Forbes said in the article, "Common themes for the business-welcoming metros include solid job growth, an educated labor supply and low business costs. Interestingly, six of the 10 metro areas are anchored by capital cities; maybe lobbyist spending boosts an economy."

To see the Forbes list go to the following link: http://www.forbes.com/2008/03/19/best-business-cities-biz-bestplaces08-cx_kb_0319places_land.html

Friday, March 21, 2008

EDC and others working on Film Incentive Legislation

EDC officials have been working with film producers from Hollywood on using Owensboro as a location for motion pictures. Feature films such as these spend approximately $200,000 per day of shooting. Production spending has an economic impact multiplier of 1.695, which is higher than three-quarters of all other industries.

The entertainment industry, including motion pictures, is currently the largest export industry of the United States. Owensboro specifically and Kentucky in general have a unique window of opportunity to attract several motion pictures throughout the coming year, provided an appropriate incentive package is approved.

House Bill 756, sponsored by Representative Tommy Thompson of Owensboro, creates new sections of KRS Chapter 148 to provide individual income tax, corporation income tax, limited liability entity tax, and sales tax incentives for locating a film production facility in Kentucky or filming or producing a motion picture in Kentucky.

HB 756 will encourage…

  • Filming and production of motion pictures in Kentucky
  • Development of a film industry in Kentucky
  • Increased employment opportunities for Kentuckians within the film industry
  • Development of state-of-the-art production and post-production infrastructure in Kentucky

Current Kentucky law allows for only a 6% sales tax refund for motion picture production expenditures. HB 756 would create the new incentives for qualified productions in Kentucky. The key ingredient of an incentive package is a transferable tax credit.

The filming and production of movies, TV pilots, series, commercials and corporate videos can bring a healthy flow of revenue to a state. Many other states are already realizing the economic rewards, and it’s time for Kentucky to do the same.

Find your Representative at www.lrc.ky.gov/Legislators.htm

Call 502/564-8100 or e-mail and ask your Representative and Senator to support HB 756.

Monday, March 17, 2008

EDC to Facilitate Community “Place Making Strategy”

EDC will facilitate the development of a bold urbanization and comprehensive implementation strategy to foster “Economic Development through Place Making” for the region.

The process will create a customized team of professional experts in town planning, urban design, public-private financing, and community facilitation. The strategy will be tailored to local needs promoting economic growth and development, focusing on downtown and new destinations, such as around the proposed hospital location. In addition to the EDC, the process will work in conjunction with the newly created Downtown Development Authority and the Downtown Development Corp.

During the past 12 months the community has been engaged in a vibrant discussion of how to make the region more attractive to people. Much focus has been on the development of downtown Owensboro. Others have focused on amenities such as retail, recreational, and entertainment venues both in downtown and in new destinations such as near the new hospital and highway 54. A top priority from the “We the People” process was to transform downtown and insist on a well planned suburban expansion. An urbanization strategy is a key component of the newly adopted City of Owensboro Strategic Vision and a priority for the Daviess County Fiscal Court.

“There is a phenomenal global competition for capital to fuel economic growth in our world today,” said EDC President/CEO Nick Brake. “More now than ever, capital is defined as people or more specifically talent. And the key to attracting talent is livability. This is true for young professionals, growing families, as well as the retiring baby boomers—the key to making any community attractive over the next 20 years for over 20 million people is livability.”

“We want to facilitate a process for the community focusing our efforts on a concept called ‘place making’—attracting people with an attractive place,” said EDC Board Chair Darrell Higginbotham. “We are clearly at a critical crossroads in making Owensboro the place that attracts people.”

“The timing is right for an initiative like this,” said Fred Reeves, Executive Director of Downtown Development. “This effort will put our ideas into practice using professional expertise with a roadmap of how to make it happen.”

The implementation strategy will:

  • combine the disciplines of town planning, urban design, public-private financing, and community facilitation, focusing first and foremost on implementation

  • include form-based codes and transportation strategies that harness the market’s ability to sustain growth

  • tie together a physical implementation strategy for downtown development; new destinations that build on the history of regional entertainment; and the integration of in-town neighborhoods and employment.

  • focus on downtown Owensboro as a key player in driving growth and reinvestment in the region. Downtown is critical to the development of a long-term, sustainable growth policy for the region.

The EDC looked at several planning groups and development organizations around the country in order to find a customized team for Owensboro. Two experts will visit Owensboro and meet with several groups this week.

Scott Polikov of Gateway Planning in Texas and Michael Huston of Wallace Roberts & Todd, an urban designer who grew up in Owensboro and graduated from Owensboro Catholic High School will form a core of the team. Other members of the team will include an economist/ market analyst, an expert in retail, entertainment venues and convention centers, a professional planner with understanding of zoning and code development, a transportation engineer, and an expert in downtown residential housing.

“The team approach is very flexible,” said Brake. “Any consultant or existing feasibility study can easily be plugged into the work of the team.”

“It will cost money,” said Higginbotham. “And it is our hope that private individuals and corporate citizens of the community can pull together to fund this effort with the EDC and other groups working as facilitators and implementers.”

The initiative will initially focus on the following tasks:

  1. Initial infrastructure capacity analysis, streetscape and architectural assets and market assessment, including an identification of key civic, employment, residential, preservation assets.

  2. Initial key stakeholder outreach

  3. Assessment of regulatory (codes), policy, taxing structure and Certified Institute of Planners (CIP) context

  4. Market analysis and trends development scenario identified for baseline

  5. Transportation, connectivity, parking and pedestrian assessment

  6. Assessment of downtown housing opportunities

  7. Community design workshop

  8. Development of downtown master plan

  9. Fiscal impact and capacity analysis for incentives

  10. Identification/support for catalytic projects

  11. Development/support of RFQ for developer of arena/hotel/entertainment destination

  12. Development of Form-Based Code

  13. Community meetings/support for adoption of master plan, code and incentives program

  14. Refinement downtown management structure and support for RFQ process for developer of catalytic project.

The public reception and discussion about the “Economic Development through Place Making” Strategy will be held on Wednesday, March 19 at Emerging Ventures Center for Innovation on the Third Floor of the Commerce Center.

To make an investment or financial contribution to the Place Making Strategy Fund, please contact Melissa Shelton at 926.4339 or go to http://www.downtownowensboro.org/ and press "Donate."

For more information about "Place Making" please visit the following links: http://www.pps.org/info/bulletin/what_is_placemaking; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placemaking; http://www.gatewayplanning.com/Gateway_base_frame.html; www.cooltownstudios.com/mt/archives/cat_placemaking.html