Thursday, April 29, 2010

Interstate 64- Interstate 65 Connector Corridor One Step Closer

The new I-64/I-65 corridor connector will move one step closer to completion late this week when another section of the new four-lane U.S. 231 in Spencer County opens. The Indiana Department of Transportation says the new roadway will open to traffic from the Interstate 64 interchange to S.R. 162 east of Gentryville on Friday. At that point motorists will follow S.R. 162 to the existing U.S. 231. The entire new 22-mile U.S. 231 linking I-64 to the Natcher Bridge is expected to be open by the summer of 2011.

Meanwhile, construction continues on the 2.2-mile U.S. 60 bypass extension east of Owensboro that is expected to be completed in 2013. Phase I is underway from U.S. 60 East to Hwy. 144. Phase II construction from Hwy. 144 to the existing bypass near Hwy. 54 should begin by late 2011—depending on the new Kentucky road plan yet to be decided by state lawmakers.

The bypass extension and new U.S. 231 in Spencer County will be the final links to a new 100-mile, four-lane corridor that includes the Natcher Parkway and connects I-64 and I-65. This is expected to bring enhanced economic development activity to Daviess County and the region.

The Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce has worked with leaders in Spencer County for 25+ years through the work of the U.S. 231 Coalition to see it built. The Chamber has also been a leading advocate for the bypass extension in Daviess County . Chamber members sent thousands of emails supporting the project to Kentucky lawmakers and Governor Beshear’s office in February of 2009 when federal stimulus dollars became available to fund Phase I.  

"This is our interstate," said Nick Brake, President/CEO of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp.  "We are creating a four lane highway between I-64 and I-65, and the main center is going to be Owensboro.  The area around the new hospital will grow with retail and commercial development much like you would see around an exit from an interstate.  This is Owensboro's exit on the interstate highway system!"

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Flight from Owensboro to Las Vegas Coming Soon

Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport expects Allegiant Air to add nonstop jet service to Las Vegas by the end of the year, Airport Manager Bob Whitmer told Daviess Fiscal Court on Monday.

Last year, with Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air offering two nonstop flights a week to Orlando, Fla., the airport reached the 10,000 passenger mark for the first time in a decade and qualified for $1 million in federal funding for capital projects.

Allegiant will have three flights a week to Orlando this year. Next year, with direct flights to Las Vegas twice a week, Whitmer said boardings could top 20,000.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Improvements in Transportation Position Owensboro Well for Growth in Logistics

Recent improvements and opportunities in the regional transportation network position Owensboro for future growth in the logistics sector, according to a new report released today by the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation, the Owensboro Riverport Authority and the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport. The three organizations are teaming up to focus efforts on attracting companies from the logistics industry to locate in Owensboro.

Greater Owensboro is linked to the national transportation network through two limited access highways, the Natcher and Audubon Parkways, which provide easy access to nearby I-64 to the north and in the south to I-65 and I-24. Newly planned I-66 and I-69 corridors are 30 minutes to the west and south. Additionally, US 231, US 431, and US 60 provide excellent highway access to the region.

Interstate 69 will intersect the Audubon Parkway between Owensboro and Henderson at approximately the three-mile marker. The Interstate will connect Canada to Mexico and will cross the Ohio River within 30 miles of the Owensboro Riverport Authority and the Owensboro Daviess County Regional Airport.
The I-64/ I-65 connector, currently under construction and set for completion in 2014, provides a four lane limited access north-south expressway connection via the Natcher Bridge to I-64 in 30 miles north in Indiana and I-65, located 50 miles to the south. Owensboro is the largest city and is located near the midpoint along the connector.

Other logsitics assets include the following:

Geographic Center- Greater Owensboro is located 75 miles from the median center of the U.S. population (the point where latitude and longitude lines intersect, and the population is the same on all sides) resulting in lower transportation costs.

River- Owensboro Riverport Authority with Foreign Trade Zone status, custom port of entry, 100 card rail loop, ample warehousing space and inventory/ logistics capabilities;

Rail- CSX mail north-south line;

Air- Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport, 8,000 foot runway, 300 acres for expansion;

Workforce- Recognized by Expansion Management as top ranked workforce in logistics and distribution
Logistics and advanced manufacturing training programs at Owensboro Community and Technical College;

Center for Commerce- The region is located within 600 miles of 41% of personal income, 53% of manufacturing employment, and 41% of retail sales in the country.

Click here to read the full report.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Dubuque serves as Growth Model for Owensboro

The recent visit to Dubuque, Iowa by local leaders to look at the Grand Rivers Convention Center and other downtown amenities gives a potential glimpse into the future. Dubuque's success goes much farther than the convention center.

Dubuque is on the Mississippi River, and the city and Dubuque County are nearly identical to Owensboro and Daviess County in population. The city is one of ten "peer region" that the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation uses for benchmarking of the regional economy.

"There are great similarities between Owensboro and Dubuque," Downtown Development Director Fred Reeves said. "But they are about 10 years ahead of us with their downtown riverfront and convention center and hotel."

Investments over the past years have paid off. Dubuque is the shining star of the ten U.S. regions of the most like Owensboro in terms of demographics. Dubuque ranks at the top of every economic category, including job growth, per capita income, educational attainment, lowest unemployment rate during the recent recession, and the retention of manufacturing jobs. Owensboro ranked between fourth and seventh compared to the ten peers on most of the same measures.

The moral of the story is that Dubuque's success with quality of place development, particularly on the riverfront and in downtown has translated into overall economic success and an abundance of new jobs.

To see how Owensboro compared or to view complete data from Dubuque and other peer regions, please visit

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cranes New Symbol of Construction Boom in Owensboro

Beginning this month cranes will be the new symbol of the recent construction boom in Owensboro.  The city and region are beginning an unprecedented period of construction projects totaling $600 million in new public projects, over 10,000 construction jobs and with an overall economic impact of more than $1 billion.

Some of the public projects including the following:

The new Owensboro Medical Health System will break ground next week ($385 million, 6,600 construction jobs, and $600 million economic impact); downtown development program, including the new publicly funded convention center ($80 million, 1,300 construction jobs, $130 million economic impact); new downtown hotel ($20 million, 340 construction jobs, $33 million economic impact); Interstate 64- Interstate 65 connector ($37 million, 600 construction jobs, $62 million economic impact); and a new National Guard Armory at the airport ($14 million, 200 construction jobs, $23 million economic impact).

There has never been a better time to invest in Owensboro!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Owensboro-Based Easy Wood Tools an Example of New Manufacturing Business Startup

After spending most of his life as a machinist cutting metal and plastics, Craig Jackson decided to try cutting wood.  He found the sharpening methods, angles and catches to be extremely annoying.  Jackson experimented with all different types and brands of tools and couldn't find what he was looking for.  He decided to combine his metal cutting experience with wood turning to develop a completely new wood turning system.  

After researching the best materials and testing several of his inventions, Jackson created a tool that met most all of his needs.  He developed a replaceable carbide cutter wood turning tool that cuts at a neutral angle, making it safer and easier to use.  Additionally, the blade can be rotated when one side gets dull and eventually replaced which eliminates the need for sharpening.  Jackson has since developed six new tools and has a patent pending on several of these inventions.

Jackson and his wife, Donna, intended to operate the business part time but soon realized there was enough demand to make it their full time jobs.  They worked with several staff members at Emerging Ventures, including Lois Decker with the Small Business Development Center located in the Commerce Center for assistance in putting their financial data into a cohesive format.

"The manufacturing side of the business is easy.  The hard part is the accounting and taxes and making sure we are operating efficiently," said Donna Jackson.  "The SBDC helped us with these tasks and was a great sounding board when we were trying to determine the best avenues for financing."

Easy Wood Tools' clients range from hobbyists and professional wood turners.  They have over 100 retailers selling their products and have sold tools to customers in 15 different countries.    For more information on the company please visit their website

Friday, April 2, 2010

Gov. Beshear designates $250,000 for Owensboro health care job training initiative

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Steve Beshear has awarded $250,000 to the Green River Workforce Investment Board to develop job training programs for careers in health care occupations. The dollars, provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) through the Governor’s Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Statewide Reserve, will fund the Prescription for Success Health Care initiative.
The GR-WIB will use the funds to implement programs to specifically serve low-income, unemployed or underemployed adults who are interested in an education or training program leading to a career in the health care sector.
“Despite the loss of jobs across the state, the demand for those in health care related occupations is increasing,” said Gov. Beshear. “Career training and development in this industry will be a valuable resource both for Kentuckians seeking new careers and for those in need of the services these jobs provide.”
The U.S. Department of Labor reports that 10 of the 20 fastest growing occupations are health care related. The agency projects that health care will generate 3.2 million new wage salary jobs in the United States between 2008 and 2018, more than any other industry.
The Prescription for Success is a project of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet and the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board. The purpose of the initiative is to create integrated, collaborative partnerships that include representatives of the health care, education and workforce development sectors.

GRWIB will receive $250,000. In partnership with Owensboro Community and Technical College, local One-Stop Career Centers, county adult education providers, the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp., Hermitage Care Center, and Owensboro Medical Health System, the GRWIB will implement the Green River Nursing RX to address the current and future occupational demands of the health care industry.