An early look at the downtown Owensboro master plan

Members of the Owensboro community will gather at Kentucky Wesleyan College Saturday morning for the roll-out of the new downtown master plan being developed by Gateway Planning Group. 

The Fort Worth-based firm was in Owensboro in September for a week of design workshops to develop a plan for what the community wants in the city’s core. 

Saturday’s meeting will feature a refinement of the “wish list” coupled with the “implementation plan,” that will spell out what it will take financially to make those plans happen. 

For an early look at some of the drawings and plans, visit the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp. blog

Here’s a look at Gateway’s rendering of Owensboro’s downtown and waterfront – 

Owensboro's waterfront

Owensboro's downtown and waterfront

The unveiling of the proposed downtown design and the implementation plan begins at 9 a.m. in Jones Gymnasium at Kentucky Wesleyan College.


Click here for a look the main illustrative portion of the downtown master plan that maps out where projects such as the mixed-use indoor events center and market square plaza could go.

Gateway Planning Group President Scott Polikov said the main plan document, which will run about 200 pages, should be complete by the end of the year. 

For more about the plan and Saturday’s meeting, go to the Messenger-Inquirer.

Owensboro community gets another look at downtown master plan

The Gateway Planning Group presented the end result of their week of planning, listening and designing Friday at The RiverPark Center. 

The standing-room crowd in the Holbrook Balcony at the center saw a vision of downtown that included an outdoor events center adjacent to a revitalized waterfront district that Gateway President Scott Polikov described as a “grand public room.”

Take a look at the renderings, designs and plans Gateway produced for the master plan, which will be refined over the next two months in preparation for another presentation at Kentucky Wesleyan College on Nov. 15, the anniversary of last year’s We the People town meeting

The Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp. has also provided a roundup of many of the ideas offered by Gateway on its blog.

Community weighs in on downtown Owensboro, to preview plan tonight

Owensboro and Daviess County residents will have a chance tonight to weigh in on the progress this week on designing a downtown master plan. 

Members of the Gateway Planning Group and their associates will offer a first draft of the plan at the RiverPark Center after nearly three days full of meetings with local interests and time spent around the design tables. 

A conference room on the third floor of The Commerce Center on East Third Street has been the hub of the design work this week, with one half reserved for marking up plansand the other half set up for presentations to and discussions with various groups and community members. 

So far, the designers and planners have heard from members of local government, developers, members of the arts community, transportation officials, tourism and hospitality industry officials and the education community in different sessions at The Commerce Center. 

Along with that input, the planners will be taking into account the results of a survey of about 150 people Monday night during an opening public session for the design process. 

The results showed that members of the public are generally supportive of a lot of potential downtown projects, such as a convention center, arena, outdoor stadium or marina. 

Many of those that responded weren’t interested in moving downtown, but showed support for developing residential possibilities downtown. 

But one of the most important messages delivered Monday night was by economist John Hockenyos, who said the city’s current tax base wouldn’t be sufficient to support the projects being considered. 

The finished master plan is expected to address that issue by including a plan to finance the development ideas proposed throughout the plan, but those options haven’t been a large part of the public discussion so far.

It seems the survey Monday night missed a chance to not only see what people want, but to what lengths financially they are willing to go to make those ideas become reality.

Be sure to check out tonight’s session that begins at 6:30 p.m. at the RiverPark Center. The final draft of the work this week will be offered up at 11:30 a.m. Friday.

For more information about this week’s events, visit the Downtown Development Authority’s Web site.


Here’s a look at one of the renderings from tonight’s presentation by the Gateway Planning Group. Check out Thursday’s Messenger-Inquirer for the complete story.


Looking east on Veterans Boulevard toward the RiverPark Center.

Looking east on Veterans Boulevard toward the RiverPark Center.

Resources for downtown Owensboro “charrette” next week

The Daviess County community will have a chance to work with elected officials, local government staff and planners of the Gateway Planning Group next week as part of the development of the downtown master plan for Owensboro. 

During the five-day design “charrette,” the public at-large is invited to attend sessions at the RiverPark Center on Monday at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. and then at noon on Friday when the work on the draft plan will be presented. 

I wanted to offer some background information for those who might want to attend so they can get a better sense of what this plan will entail and do some reading to be better prepared to participate. 

  • You can find more information about the master plan and downtown “placemaking” initiative at the Downtown Development Authority’s Web site and register for the different events.
  • Gateway Planning Group has worked with several communities on drafting similar plans for several communities, and you can take a look at the work they have done here.  
  • Columnist Neal Peirce with the Washington Post Writers Group will be speaking at the first public session on Monday, and will be talking in part about the study of Owensboro he did in 1991. You can read more of his columns on state and regional trends here.