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.

Most Read This Week

April 28, 2015 4341

Search for Stolen Vehicle Ends with Woman Charged…

by SurfKY News
May 05, 2015 3871

Meth Charge Follows MPD Investigation into…

by SurfKY News
April 28, 2015 3488

Man Charged with Stalking Smoke Shop Clerk

by MPD
May 05, 2015 3430

School Board Studies Further Spending Cuts

by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
April 30, 2015 2979

Family Says 'Goodbye' to Dog After It Allegedly…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

April 17, 2015 15992

An Open Letter from an Addict

by Olivia Kirks
April 23, 2015 8615

Man Charged with Sodomy, Incest/Victim under 12

by SurfKY News

Stories Trending Now

May 05, 2015 3871

Meth Charge Follows MPD Investigation into…

by SurfKY News
May 05, 2015 3430

School Board Studies Further Spending Cuts

by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
May 06, 2015 1875

Gant Chosen as Pupil Personnel Director

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
May 05, 2015 1236

Madisonville Man Goes to Hospital after…

by SurfKY News
May 05, 2015 1149

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - May 5, 2015

by SurfKY News
May 05, 2015 1135

Two on Moped Injured in Collision with Car

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
May 05, 2015 996

Baptist Health Madisonville Establishes Foundation

by Kristy J. Quinn
May 06, 2015 881

Hopkins Grand Jury Indictments Handed Down

by Karen McKnight
May 05, 2015 702

SurfKY Spotlight: First Kentucky Bank

by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
May 05, 2015 658

May 2015 In-House Rabies Clinics' Schedule

by Barry L. Franklin