Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Changes to Downtown Market Square

A change of plans in Owensboro's downtown revitalization could save the city almost two million dollars and lead to enhanced private investment in downtown. Planners are rethinking the market square plans now that the Executive Inn land is giving them more room to work with downtown.

Under the original downtown masterplan, businesses on the block north of the courthouse would be flattened to make room for a market square used as an outdoor event space and farmer's market, but officials say that plan presented too many logistical problems.

The new idea is to create a direct path from the courthouse to the new waterfront through that block.
Downtown development director Fred Reeves says everything that might have been planned for the market square can now go on the Executive Inn property. The path, called a paseo by urban designers, will create opportunities for private development on the block adjacent to the new downtown hotel and along Veterans Blvd. that were not a part of the original plan. In addition to saving money with the redesign, the private investment will keep more downtown property on the tax rolls.

To view the complete redesign of Market Square, please visit the EDC home page at http://edc.owensboro.com/

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Expansion of Health Care Industry and New Hospital will have Significant Economic Impact on Region

The expansion of the health care industry through the construction of a new hospital will have a significant economic impact on the Greater Owensboro region, according to an analysis by the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation (GO-EDC).

Hospitals make substantial contributions to local and regional economies through the purchase of goods and services and the employment of large numbers of workers. An analysis of data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Bureau of Labor Statistics by GO-EDC demonstrates that health care is a base industry in the Owensboro metropolitan statistical area, meaning that each dollar in earnings and jobs for employment create additional earnings and jobs in the region. The investment by the Owensboro Medical Health System (OMHS) in the local economy with a new hospital will lead to 500 new long-term health care jobs over the next five years, which will ultimately translate to a total of 800 net new jobs in the region and over $24 million in new payroll earnings in the five county area. OMHS current annual payroll is $162,936,094, employing 3,147, an increase of 1,000 people since 1995.

The jobs and earnings numbers are not counting the construction phase of the project or the jobs that come along with new physicians recruited to the region as a result of the new hospital. The construction phase alone, according to BEA multipliers, will create over 4,000 jobs, $450,000,000 in new output and $139,000,000 in additional earnings for the region.

“Little attention is paid hospitals from an economic development perspective, and this is unfortunate,” said EDC President Nick Brake. “The lack of attention is, in part; because of the perception that health care is only a locally serving activity that has little impact on driving a metropolitan area's economic prosperity. Evidence from around the country is showing us otherwise. Hospitals are significant contributors to the economic base of regions. This analysis indicates that is the case here in Owensboro.”

Recent research at the University of New Orleans (Nelson, 2009) indicates that hospitals are substantial contributors to the economic base of slow-growth and larger metros. The study indicated that hospitals in small metropolitan regions, such as Owensboro, have the potential to evolve as a significant export industry because they often provide basic care in surrounding geographic areas. The expansion of OMHS as an 11 county regional medical center means that health care will likely grow as an export industry, adding significantly to the regional economic base. For more information about the New Orleans study please visit http://edq.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/23/3/242

Another significant measure of export revenue from the health care industry is the percentage of Medicare received from Medicare patients outside the metropolitan area. According to data supplied by OMHS, roughly $75 million in net payments, or 20 percent, come from patients outside the Owensboro MSA. The median percentage in the University of New Orleans analysis was 12 percent.

Additional data analyzed from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a stronger concentration of health care related occupations in the Greater Owensboro region than nationally, another indicator of the significance of the health care sector to the overall regional economic base. The average salary for health practitioner occupations in the Greater Owensboro region is over $52,000 per year, more than double the median income of the Owensboro MSA.

Click here to see full analysis, including BEA multipliers and BLS location quotients.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hollison investment demonstrates high tech potential in Owensboro

The latest investment by the Kentucky Science and Technology Corp. of $200,000 in Hollison Technologies, a startup biotech company that will have its headquarters in the Owensboro, shows just how far Owensboro has advanced in developing the infrastrcuture to support high tech company growth.

Hollison's Kevin Humphrey indicates it was the infrastructure in Owensboro that made the difference for the company. "That was fantastic," Kevin Humphrey of Utica, one of four partners in the company, said of the state investment. "I credit Madison and eMerging Ventures as much as I do our idea."

The Emerging Ventures Seed Fund, created two years ago by the City of Owensboro, invested $50,000 in Hollison. That investment opened the door for the KSTC investment of $200,000 and has created other opportunities. The EDC hosted a reception for the company to help identify additional angel investors.

Hollison will also be a tennent in the new Centre for Business and Research, the 37,000 square foot high tech business accelerator located in a former tobacco warehouse on Allen Street. The Centre is scheduled to open later this year.

Hollison has developed technology for the detection and identification of chemical, biological and radiological contamination in food commodities, processed food and beverages.

"It's exciting to see that kind of state investment," said Madison Silvert, vice president of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp. and executive director of its eMerging Ventures Center for Innovation.

"That's a good-sized investment," he said. "It's the largest award we've secured from them so far. We're seeing the emergence of a high-tech atmosphere in Owensboro."

An emeging high tech atmosphere --thanks to investments by the local community in infrastructure such as the eMerging Ventures Seed Fund, the Centre for Business and Research, and the eMerging Ventures program at EDC-- will help Owensboro to nurture the growth of high tech startup companies like Hollison.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Governor: "There's no place in Kentucky that has more going on right now"

"There's no place in Kentucky that has more going on right now than you all," Gov. Steve Beshear told a crowd gathered in Ownsboro on Wednesday to watch him break ground for the first 2.3 miles of the long-awaited bypass extension that will create the new I-64/ I-65 Corridor.

He was talking about the $120 million worth of construction planned for downtown Owensboro which includes a new hotel and convention center, a new $385 million hospital planned between Daniels Lane and Pleasant Valley Road, the emerging plant biotech cluster being created around Kentucky BioProcessing and the newly planned Centre for Business and Research, recent expansions at US Bank, Unilever, Swedish Match, and Sazerac, the soon-to-be-completed Western Kentucky University-Owensboro Campus as well as the $37.6 million road project.

Thank you Governor for your investments in our region! Thank you for recognizing our willingness to invest in ourselves!