Convention center committee off and running

The steering committee charged with the responsibility of planning a downtown Owensboro convention/events center is off and running, having held it first meeting Wednesday at the Daviess County Courthouse.

After electing Daviess County Judge-Executive Reid Haire chairman of the seven-member committee on Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne’s motion, the first item of business was selecting CityVisions Associates, a Louisville urban planning and design company, to assist the committee.

CityVisions’ consulting fee will be approximately $200,000, with the final amount determined by how many months the company spends on some of the tasks in the contract. The first order of business for CityVisions is to conduct a feasibility study for the convention center.

Look for the full story in Thursday’s Messenger-Inquirer.

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City of Owensboro to buy Executive Inn property

Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne announced this morning that the city of Owensboro is prepared to purchase the closed Executive Inn Rivermont for $5 million and raze the property to make way for future development. 

Payne said during a press conference just outside the hotel’s front doors that the city is considering opening the Executive Inn’s convention center on the east side of the 17-acre property for the next three years until a new one can be built. 

The money to purchase the hotel property and demolish the 600-room hotel will come from $7.5 million that the city and county had been prepared to spend to build a new parking garage in downtown under the recently adopted downtown master plan. 

The 17 acres around the hotel can be used for surface parking for now and the county is trying to secure funding to add more floors to the new Green River Intra County Transit System parking garage across Second Street, Payne said. 

Fred Reeves, downtown development director, said the Gateway Planning Group of Fort Worth, Texas, which did the city’s downtown master plan, will work with the community on possible uses for the property.

Read Saturday’s Messenger-Inquirer for more information. 

Mayor-elect Ron Payne to speak to Daviess County Rotary

In what will be one of his first speeches since winning Owensboro’s mayoral election last week, Ron Payne will speak to the Daviess County Rotary Club at its meeting next week. 

Payne, who is vacationing in France this week, defeated City Commissioner Al Mattingly Jr. by just under 200 votes a week ago.

Payne’s election means he’ll add yet another title to his resume that is steeped in municipal service and includes stints as finance director, city manager and city commissioner in Owensboro. 

The Rotary Club meeting will begin at 7 a.m. on Nov. 18 at Moonlite-Bar-B-Q Inn, but the breakfast meeting is not open to the public.

Boswell to speak to Owensboro Rotary Club

The Owensboro Rotary Club will play host to congressional candidate David Boswell next week after hearing from his Republican opponent Brett Guthrie in August. 

Boswell, a Sorgho Democrat and state senator, had been invited to the Aug. 6 Rotary meeting during which Guthrie made his pitch to the members. Due to a meeting in Frankfort that day, Boswell said he was unable to attend. 

Boswell will get his chance to ask for votes during the club’s Sept. 17 meeting at the Owensboro Country Club, which is not open to the public. 

Boswell will be followed on Sept. 24 by Owensboro mayoral candidate Ron Payne, who is facing Al Mattingly Jr. in this year’s election.

Owensboro mayoral candidate to hold press conference Friday

Ron Payne, candidate for mayor of Owensboro, will be joined by his former opponent Jeff Sanford Friday morning for a press conference about his new campaign Web site, www.payne4mayor.com.

Payne said they also plan to talk about using a text messaging system to communicate with younger voters and businesspeople during the campaign. 

“Jeff’s helping me reach out to the younger generation,” Payne said Thursday. 

The press conference will begin at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Skeetor’s Cafe at 222 Allen St in downtown.

Payne is facing Al Mattingly Jr., who currently serves on the Owensboro City Commission, in this fall’s mayoral election.  Sanford finished third in the May primary, and has since tossed his support to Payne.

Both Payne and Mattingly have begun their media  campaigns for the Nov. 4 election, with Mattingly investing in several billboards and Payne positioning large signs with “Payne for Mayor” on them around the city.

Mattingly has a Web site at almattinglyformayor.com.

Sanford throws support to Payne in Owensboro mayoral race

The local businessman who finished third this May in the Owensboro’s mayoral primary has thrown his support to candidate Ron Payne.

Jeff Sanford, who owns Scoreboard Publications and was making his first run for public office, said Tuesday he will be actively campaigning for Payne and is asking his supporters to do the same.

“The vision he shares and the vision I share are pretty darn close,” Sanford said of Payne. “He, in my opinion right now, is the one that can take us to where we need to be.”

Sanford finished behind Payne and current City Commissioner Al Mattingly Jr. in the three-way race. Mattingly, the owner of Acme Plumbing and Heating, topped the field with 46 percent of the vote while Payne, a former city commissioner and city manager, ran second with 34 percent of the vote. Sanford received 20 percent in the election, which drew 38 percent of registered voters to the polls.

Payne welcomed the support from Sanford, who he said will bring a lot to his campaign.

“I’m pleased he is willing to get involved in the political process,” Payne said.

Read more about this year’s mayoral race in Wednesday’s Messenger-Inquirer.