Ground is expected to be broken later this month on the International Bluegrass Music Center in downtown Owensboro. The city has already pledged $3 million to the project and now Daviess County says it’s contributing $500,000 dollars to the project over the next five years.
County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly says the music center will be the next step in the development of downtown that already includes the new convention center and two new hotels.
“This area, this block – an entire block – sits right at the end of that corridor,” said Mattingly. “It certainly will be an attraction to people who come into the community for conventions and in and of itself will be an attractor for visitors.”
Mattingly says the county’s money for the project comes from excess from a hotel-motel tax. He says in the past, similar money has been used to pay a million dollars on a bonded indebtedness of the Riverpark Center.
“We thought that since this [money] comes from visitors who come into this community, it’s specifically tasked to be spent on arts organizations in the downtown area and tourism,” said Mattingly.
The Bluegrass Music Center could open as soon as next year. The $12 million project has also received $5 million dollars in private donations. It's scheduled to include a 1,000-seat indoor theater and a 2,000-seat outdoor stage.
The current building at 2nd and Fredericka Street is expected to be torn down in matter of weeks, allowing construction on the Bluegrass Center to begin.
Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne is expected to meet with Governor Steve Beshear next week to ask about state funding for the project.