Ron Payne

The mayor of Owensboro is planning to introduce a plan to save a city-owned golf course from being sold.

The Messenger-Inquirer reports Mayor Ron Payne will share the plan with the city commission at its Tuesday evening meeting. The city’s proposed budget does not include funding for Hillcrest Golf Course, listing it as eligible to be sold to private interests.

A new ordinance that includes funding for the nine-hole course will be introduced as an amendment to the budget during the city commission meeting.

The ordinance proposes to fund the golf course through a slight increase in the city’s occupational tax.

The increase would also help cover the city’s recent $2.4 million commitment to the construction of the new downtown International Bluegrass Music Center.

City of Owensboro

The city of Owensboro is allocating $5 million for the construction of the new International Bluegrass Music Center project along the town’s riverfront.

The money is being made available through a partnership between the city and state announced Wednesday by Governor Beshear and city leaders.

Owensboro has been providing matching funds for a federal allocation supporting the riverfront. As a result of the new agreement, the state Transportation Cabinet will invest available state matching funds for a portion of the city’s responsibility for that federal allocation.

The move allows Owensboro to invest $5 million of its funds in the new International Bluegrass Music Center, completing the $15 million project.

Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne believes the entire state will benefit from the new music center.

“We told the Governor early on that this is really not an Owensboro project, this is a Commonwealth project. Bluegrass is international, and we will be promoting not only Owensboro, but the state of Kentucky.”

Payne says the new music center is needed because the International Bluegrass Music Museum currently housed in the city’s downtown has outgrown its current facility. He thinks the new center will a jewel along Owensboro’s riverfront.

“It will have an auditorium in the facility, and it’s the intention of the bluegrass folks to broadcast a bluegrass opry out of there throughout the world.”

Construction on the new bluegrass music center will begin this summer, with the opening scheduled for 2017.

City of Owensboro

The mayor of Owensboro says the city should consider trying to annex nearby subdivisions in order to boost its population.

Ron Payne made the comments following the release of census numbers showing Bowling Green has grown at a faster pace than Owensboro.

Those figures from the U.S. Census Bureau reflect populations on July 1, 2013.

Bowling Green retained its position as the state’s third-largest city, with a population of 61,488 people. Owensboro remained fourth-largest, with just over 58,416.

That 3,072-person advantage by Bowling Green is more than the gap between the two cities during the 2010 census. Four years ago, Bowling Green had just an 800-person advantage.

The Messenger-Inquirer reports Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne and City Manager Bill Parrish are talking about meeting with homeowner associations in subdivisions along Kentucky 54 in order to gauge their interest in being annexed by the city.

Owensboro Convention Center

The new Owensboro Convention Center opens for business Wednesday as the Ag Expo begins. The city also has grand opening festivities slated for this weekend. 

Work began on the 170,000 square foot, $40-million dollar facility in March 2012. Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne says the finished product is impressive.

“You go in and the lobby is 60 feet high and you have a lot of lot of unique artwork in there and two huge ballrooms up on the third floor.  Off those ballrooms to the north and you have a balcony overlooking the Ohio River,” said Payne.

Payne says despite the facility’s size, it will be able to play host to events large and small.

“The exhibit hall can actually be separated into three separate exhibit halls if you want to do it," said Payne.  "Or you can take the panels and open up the entire thing. So, lots of versatility which gives you a lot of options.”

Owensboro Mayor: City Needs to Remove Barriers to Business

Jan 14, 2013

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.

An open records dispute between city officials in Owensboro and the town's newspaper is headed to the Kentucky Court of Appeals. The Messenger-Inquirer reports that city commissioners voted Tuesday night to appeal a circuit judge's opinion that the city must release two internal investigations it opened last year against former police spokeswoman Marian Cosgrove.