Wednesday, November 19, 2008

We Can Finally Move Beyond the Executive Inn

The closing of the Executive Inn was a blow to the citizens of Owensboro. For decades the hotel was the centerpiece of the downtown. The convention center attached to the hotel was a key part of the tourism and economic development of Owensboro.

Now, less than 6 months after its closing this past spring, Downtown Owensboro is springing to life again with a new Master Plan released Nov. 15 by the Gateway Planning team out of Ft. Worth, TX. The new master plan calls for a 200+ room hotel to replace the Executive Inn.

A new Multi-Purpose Indoor Events Center suitable for hosting conventions and sporting events. The new plan will allow Downtown Owensboro to reach its full potential. The Executive Inn was built as a Las Vegas style hotel model, where patrons drove up and spent all of their time in the hotel complex. The new plan will create a more 21st Century, walkable urban model where the hotel blends into the larger downtown and riverfront.

The proposed location of the new downtown hotel, at the intersection of Frederica and Second Streets, is closer to the action with the $40 million Waterfront Park, Owensboro's highly touted River Park Center arts facility, and the historic core dowtown "main street." The location will activate the market along Veterans Blvd. along the riverfront district, reinvent Second Street, and create a new public plaza connecting the Daviess County Courthouse to the waterfront. This new center of community life, adjacent to the proposed new hotel site, would also house the Farmers Market. This plaza will become the city's "Grand Gesture" to the river, truly connecting Owensboro to its river roots.

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