Wednesday, February 4, 2009

City, County Approve Funds to Revitalize Downtown Owensboro

Last night, the Owensboro City Commission and the Daviess County Fiscal Court approved the $80 million funding for an aggressive downtown revitalization program 

In May the most identifiable landmark in Owensboro, the Executive Inn Rivermont hotel, closed its doors to bankruptcy.  For decades the hotel was the centerpiece of the downtown.  Now, less than 9 months after its closing, downtown Owensboro is springing to life again with a Master Plan focusing on “walkable urbanism.” 

The plan calls for a 200 room hotel to replace the Executive Inn, an Events Center suitable for hosting conventions and sporting events, a fine arts academy, and 300 residential units in downtown. 

The proposed location of the new downtown hotel, is closer to the action with the $40 million, federally funded Waterfront Park, the RiverPark Center, and the historic core of downtown.   The location will activate the riverfront district and create a new public plaza connecting the Courthouse to the waterfront. This new center of community life, adjacent to the proposed new hotel site, would also house a farmers market. This plaza will become the city's "Grand Gesture" to the river, truly connecting Owensboro to its river roots.

Work has already begun on Mitch McConnell Plaza and Riverfront Development creating a Waterfront Park overlooking the Ohio River. 

The improvements to the Waterfront Park as envisioned in the Riverfront Master Plan will be completed and this park will be a destination park for residents and visitors alike. Together with the metamorphosis of Veterans Blvd., this park will be the cornerstone of a revitalized downtown Owensboro.

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