Unique Granite and Marble Inc. plans to expand their manufacturing operations in Owensboro, creating 25 new full-time jobs and investing $400,000 in the project.
Unique Granite and Marble has been manufacturing custom granite and quartz countertops in Owensboro since 2004 after transitioning from home building and remodeling. The company currently employs 28. With the expansion, the company plans to establish a new division to produce countertops for large commercial and multi-family units throughout a six state region.
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $250,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.
A western Kentucky city plans to have a panel determine whether it can make things easier for businesses looking to locate or expand in the area.
Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne told the Messenger-Inquirer that he's heard several complaints from the business community and this is an attempt to see if there are problems and, if so, how best to address them.
"Ever since I've been mayor, I've heard complaints about problems with planning and zoning and other requirements, or difficulties dealing with City Hall, and given the amount of business activity we have and what I anticipate will occur, we want to make sure it is as easy as possible to do business," Payne said recently in calling for the appointment of a Commission on Business Development.
He said the group would talk to developers and business owners to see what kind of problems they have when they attempt to open or expand a business and determine whether issues really exist.
Former President Bill Clinton is coming to Owensboro this spring for a benefit fundraiser. The Messenger-Inquirier reports the event will raise funds to support the Wendell H. Ford Government Education Center.
Ford served in the U.S. Senate from 1974 to 1999, and was Democratic Whip the first six years of Clinton’s presidencies.
President Clinton has appeared in Daviess County before—in 2000, he presented an education award to Audubon Elementary School, and he campaigned at Kentucky Wesleyan College in 2008 on behalf of his wife, Hillary Clinton, who was seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.
The Ford Government Education Center is located downtown in the Owensboro Museum of Science and History, and has displays of pictures, artifacts, and documents from Ford’s political career.
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."
Cravens Elementary School teacher Ryan Williams was one of 40 people nationally to receive the 2012 Milken Award and the only recipient in Kentucky. The award comes with a $25,000 gift.
Williams is a native of Henderson and began teaching in Owensboro Public Schools in 1999 after graduating from WKU. He taught first grade for 11 years before moving to third grade. He's currently on temporary assignment as curriculum facilitator at Estes Elementary School.
"I try to ebgage the students every day, find something that interests them, something they can relate to," Williams said. "I come to work every day with a smile on my face."
Owensboro's tourism economy took a pounding after its largest hotel, the Executive Inn Rivermont, closed in 2008 as the national economy started to falter, but now things are looking better. The Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau, which is funded primarily by a hotel room tax, brought in $587,567 at the end of this fiscal year --more than the $512,000 budgeted.