interstate 69 300OWENSBORO, Ky. (2/18/14) – Reiterating statements he made at the State of the City address earlier this month, Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne said he remains committed to the challenge of persuading state lawmakers and colleagues in surrounding communities that Owensboro is the place I-69 should run through if the state’s highway department can’t figure out a solution to the challenge of paying for the construction of a bridge to connect it between Henderson and Evansville, Ind.

"I am very passionate about this issue,” Payne said at the end of the Owensboro City Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday night (tonight). “It is time we had an interstate in this community.”

Payne said he doesn’t “fault Henderson or Evansville for being as passionate” about the issue as he is, but that the prohibitive cost of building a new bridge makes moving I-69 west to connect with the Natcher Bridge a viable alternative.

"I think there is a solution that can benefit all communities,” Payne said. “We have an alternative.”

Giving up isn’t an option, he said.

It’s time that we get an interstate through the city of Owensboro,” he said. “I’m going to continue to push this unless this commission tells me not to.”

At least one city commissioner is backing him. Immediately following his comments, Commissioner Deborah Nunley called Payne a “fearless leader” and compared him to “a dog with a bone he’s not gonna let go of.” She called on the public to support the mayor in his efforts to get the interstate route changed.

Earlier in the meeting, commissioners hustled through a relatively light agenda, approving several ordinances – including one to amend the city’s budget for the current fiscal year in order to allocate funds for “design work, real estate re-development, repairs, salt purchase, and contract transfer” – and heard a report on the city’s finances. According to the report presented, the city is 4.7 percent under budget expenditures. City officials noted the city could end the current fiscal year with as much as $11 million in the fund balance.

Commissioners also approved the promotion of David Powell to the position of police lieutenant effective Feb. 23, and the appointments of Nathanial Neal (recreation supervisor, Parks and Recreation Department), Herbert Kendall (public works laborer/maintenance helper, Public Works Department), and James Mattingly (garage manager, Public Works Department).

Dennis Beard

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