Owensboro Bluegrass Music Center Close to $3M Goal from Donors

Jan 7, 2013

A display at the International Bluegrass Music Museum
Credit Kevin Willis

Officials say private fundraising for a planned Bluegrass Music Center in Daviess County is going well.

International Bluegrass Music Museum Terry Woodward says the drive has received pledges from large donors for $2.6 million and expects to reach a $7 million goal.

The proposal calls for turning an old state office building in Owensboro into a center that will include a museum, an indoor theater and outdoor festival seating. Woodward has said organizers want to offer fans a Bluegrass Opry, something akin to the Grand Old Opry in Nashville, Tenn.

A major fundraising drive kicked off in August, and four months later Woodward updated officials in Owensboro  on the progress.

"I'm happy to report that of the $3 million goal from large donors, right now we have $2.6 million," Woodward told commissioners last month. "We're off to a good start."

He told the Messenger-Inquirer that plans include raising $3 million from large donors, $3 million from small donors and $1 million from local businesses. In addition, the city of Owensboro has committed $3 million for the renovation, which is estimated to cost about $10 million.

"I have no doubt, mayor and commission, we're going to raise the money, and we want to start developing the plans for it soon," he said. "I'm putting together a committee to decide what goes in the center."

The City Commission agreed to advance Woodward some funding to help pay for architectural and engineering fees to design the center. Woodward said a design with drawings to show potential donors will help fundraising.

He said some of the next steps include having volunteers meet with 150 local businesses and mailing donation appeals to 1,000 people. In addition, Woodward said funding will be sought from 169 bluegrass associations located all around the U.S. and the world.

"We're going to sit down and give each association a goal, depending on their size," Woodward said. "We haven't even tapped that source. Board members we've spoken to support this project 100 percent. I haven't had one negative call."

He has an August deadline to reach the $7 million goal.