city owensboro 300OWENSBORO, Ky. (5/9/13) – As the city of Owensboro continues to garner national attention, one internationally known magazine has reportedly awarded Owensboro a ranking that is sure to get the attention of job seekers and prospective employers alike.

According to local sources, Forbes Magazine, a powerhouse voice in the business world, has ranked Owensboro sixth on its list of “Best Small Towns to Hold a Job In.” The 2013 ranking means that Owensboro has jumped fifteen slots over last year’s survey, in which the city was ranked at number 21, leading to an employment growth rate of 2.5%.

Owensboro has “definitely been a city on the move,” as Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne puts it, especially in the past year with the opening of Smothers Park (considered by many to be the keynote accomplishment of Payne’s ambitious downtown renovation project). The new park was one of the first steps of a plan that when introduced in 2009 was met with reluctance and faced quite a bit of public backlash. The plan itself had no other possible funding mechanism than to be paid for with taxes, most of which were harvested through  tax rate increases in the city. More than half of the $178.4 million in public and privately financed downtown renovation projects have been provided by an $80 million tax hike that raised the city premium insurance tax rate to from 4 percent to 8 percent and in the outlying Daviess County from 4.9 percent to 8.9 percent.

Despite the skepticism early on, the results of the are starting to see a return on the investment. Within the past two years, Owensboro has seen an influx of private money pour into the downtown, with private investors reportedly spending approximately $90 million in the area.

On Thursday, following the release of the Forbes rating to the public, Payne said Owensboro is truly excited about the news.

“This has just reaffirmed what we have thought all along… that is, Owensboro is definitely a city on the move,” Payne said.

He pointed out that when he took office in 2008, Owensboro was reeling from the effects of a deep recession.

“We realized that we had to invest in ourselves, and that coming out of that recession was exactly the right time to do it,” Payne remarked. “All of the projects we began are completed with the exception of the downtown hotel and convention center, and those should be completed within the year.”

Convention Center officials have set an official opening date for late January 2014.

Now months into his second term, Payne has even more ambitious plans to make Owensboro a brighter star on the map. Currently, plans are being discussed that would bring an interstate through Owensboro. I-67 would run from Nashville to Indianapolis, and would pass through Owensboro on the way.

“It’s not a matter of if,” said Payne, “It’s simply a matter of when.”

More job opportunities are expected to continue to pour into Owensboro this year. Last week, it was announced that the Gabe’s Tower hotel has been bought. The new owner and developer has plans to renovate and reopen it. A new tennis facility is also in the planning stages. It is slated to open in late 2013.

Alex Reid
SurfKY News

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

In Other News...

Hopkins District Court Fines Handed Down

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (4/24/15) — The following fines were handed down in Hopkins District Court recently: Emily Dykes,… Read More

MCCH Wellness Works to Offer Free Screenings in May

MURRAY, KY. (4/25/15) — Murray-Calloway County Hospital’s Wellness Works program will be offering free community health… Read More
1 DOW 18,080.14
+21.45 (0.12%)    
2 S&P 2,117.69
+4.76 (0.23%)    
3 NASDAQ 5,092.08
+36.02 (0.71%)    

Most Read This Week

April 17, 2015 11646

An Open Letter from an Addict

by Olivia Kirks
April 23, 2015 7204

Man Charged with Sodomy, Incest/Victim under 12

by SurfKY News
April 18, 2015 5720

Man Charged with Attempting to Coerce Minor for…

by Madisonville Police Department
April 20, 2015 4827

Nortonville Woman Charged with Meth Possession at…

by Madisonville Police Department
April 22, 2015 3966

Crime Stoppers Fugitive of the Week – April 22,…

by Hopkinsville – Christian County Crime Stoppers

Most Read This Month

April 17, 2015 11646

An Open Letter from an Addict

by Olivia Kirks
April 02, 2015 8776

UPDATE: Madisonville Man Injured in Head-on…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Now

April 24, 2015 3742

UPDATE: Police Can't Substantiate Injured Man…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
April 23, 2015 750

Regional Eighth Grade Math Contest Held

by Joyce Riggs
April 24, 2015 714

Hopkins District Court Fines Handed Down

by Karen McKnight
April 24, 2015 696

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports Released -…

by SurfKY News
April 24, 2015 639

Probation and Parole Violators - April 24, 2015

by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
April 24, 2015 611

Baptist Health Holds ‘Walk in the Park’ as Part…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
April 24, 2015 555

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

by SurfKY News
April 24, 2015 544

Muhlenberg District Court Fines Handed Down

by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
April 24, 2015 539

Career Fair Provides Students Information about…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
April 24, 2015 453

KSP Charges Franklin County Man with…

by SurfKY News