Public Life Foundation wants to know what you would like to see downtown

The Public Life Foundation of Owensboro is conducting an online survey to see what people want to see downtown.

Participants in the 2007 “We the People” Town Meeting ranked the “transformation” of downtown Owensboro as one of their top community priorities, the PLFO said.

Since then, the organization says, “ambitious plans have been developed, land has been acquired and a hotel developer has been secured. There are plans for an expanded riverfront park, convention center, market square plaza, traffic improvements, arts academy and more.”

There are both public and private sector dimensions to the plan, the PLFO says.

But ultimately, it says, “the success of the plan will have a great deal to do with the types of uses that succeed in space in the historic core of downtown and along the riverfront: retail shops, restaurants, businesses and services. These could be tenants or property owners involved in new ventures, those that relocate or expand to downtown from other areas of our community, or those that relocate or expand from outside our community.”

The online survey asks, “Who or what would you like to see occupy space or build new in our downtown?”

To participate in the survey, go to http://www.plfo.org/downtown_survey.php

Downtown projects moving forward

Various projects connected to Owensboro’s downtown master plan for revitalization are moving forward. Here’s what’s happening, according to the city’s latest project update list:
Downtown traffic study — ENTRAN, the traffic consultant performing the study, is beginning to run models and by the end of February results will be available. The goal is to present findings to the local Traffic Advisory Committee Feb. 23 and to the City Commission the first week of March. The state and federal government will have a say as well, since U.S. 60 through the city is included in the study.
Executive Inn Rivermont demolition — All structures other than the Showroom Lounge are down and the completion date for the demolition project is April 14. Public use of the land can commence after grass is established, probably in May or June.
Market square — The city has purchased five of the seven properties needed for the project and the remaining two properties should be acquired within two months. EDSA and Gateway Planning have started working on the plans for the block north of the Daviess County Courthouse. Demolition of buildings will begin in about three months.
River wall — Shallow storm water and sewer lines are going in along Veterans Boulevard. Work on deep pipes is on hold while the Ohio River is in flood stage. Changes to Smothers Park have been incorporated into the construction.

Evansville stadium board to make recommendation

The Roberts Stadium Advisory Board will be making a recommendation to the Evansville City Council and Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel this month about the future of the 52-year-old arena, the Courier-Press is reporting. 

According to a recent article by reporter Jimmy Nesbitt, the board will meet tonight and again on Dec. 16 to hear presentations about the economic impact of a new 10,000-seat stadium on the area, receive public comment and then make its recommendation. 

A consultant who looked at the impact of a new arena on Evansville found that a new facility should be part of a broader downtown revitalization plan – an idea that has gained momentum in Owensboro. 

Whatever Evansville decides to do will no doubt have an impact on Owensboro’s plans for its own downtown, which are coming together with a formal downtown master plan presented in draft form last month and expected to be adopted early next year by the Owensboro City Commission and Daviess Fiscal Court. 

That plan calls for an initial investment of $80 million by the public sector for a list of projects including a downtown convention center that could also host sporting events.