Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Fletcher Announces Investments in the Economic Future of Owensboro and Daviess County

Press Release Date:  Monday, April 30, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

David Devers

FRANKFORT, Ky. – With Owensboro’s scenic riverfront as a backdrop, Governor Ernie Fletcher today announced an investment of more than $16 million in the city’s tourism, transportation and communication infrastructures. The centerpiece of today’s announcement was a $14.4 million ceremonial check for design and construction of a river wall to stabilize the riverbank at the site of the city’s downtown Riverfront Development Project.

“Owensboro is Kentucky’s third largest city. It is also a business, medical and cultural hub in the Western Kentucky region, and one of the premier tourist destinations in Kentucky,” Governor Fletcher said. “It is incumbent upon any governor to make meaningful investments in a city that serves as an area’s economic engine. This is also my administration’s approach to fulfilling our commitment to building and enhancing strong communities in Daviess County and all of Western Kentucky.”

The $14.4 million in funding announced today by Governor Fletcher will enable Owensboro to complete the river wall and create new green space downtown.

“We appreciate the fact that Governor Fletcher is so willing to work with us to make this project happen,” said Owensboro Mayor Tom Watson. “In fact, without the support of Governor Fletcher and the Transportation Cabinet, we would have to bring this project to the river banks and wait two more years to finish it. With the Governor’s help, we’re going to be able to save several million dollars by proceeding with the work now.”

Owensboro’s historic downtown will benefit and thrive from these important investments,” said Rep. Dwight Butler (R- Harned).  “I commend Governor Fletcher’s commitment to Western Kentucky and the residents of Daviess County.”

Owensboro’s roadway enhancement needs were also addressed today when Governor Fletcher presented the city with a ceremonial check for $911,949 to complete right of way acquisitions for the Southtown Boulevard Project. This project will involve the widening of Southtown Boulevard to five lanes. Southtown Boulevard serves as the main connector road between Frederica Street, Owensboro’s primary north/south street, and Carter Road, which serves another important section of the city.

“There has been phenomenal growth all around Southtown Boulevard in recent years,” said Sen. David Boswell (D-Owensboro). “As traffic has steadily increased, this road’s effectiveness has steadily decreased. Traffic flow is a big concern in this area and we are very grateful that this project can now move forward.”

Additional Transportation Cabinet funding announced today included $350,000 for Horse Fork Creek Trail Development, which is the signature component of a multimillion dollar recreational enhancement and green space protection project. The Governor also announced $350,000 in funding for resurfacing of various Daviess County roads.

“All of these projects illustrate the excellent working relationship Governor Fletcher maintains with community leaders in Owensboro and Daviess County,” concluded Transportation Cabinet Secretary Bill Nighbert.  “We are ever mindful of the need to enhance our roadways and provide our citizens with a highway network that will support a high quality of life here in Daviess County and throughout the Commonwealth.”

Governor Fletcher today also presented a ceremonial check for a $300,000 Local Government Economic Development Fund (LGEDF) grant to the Daviess County Fiscal Court for costs associated with providing wireless broadband access throughout the county.

“It is extremely important to equip all of Kentucky’s communities with 21st century technology to attract investments that will boost local economies. Wireless broadband is just one of many tools Daviess County will need to succeed,” said Governor Fletcher. “This project is another great example of how communities can pool resources for projects that benefit the entire region.”

The Daviess County initiative is part of the regional Connect GRADD consortium. The purpose of the consortium is to bring wireless broadband access to all seven counties in the Green River Area Development District (GRADD). Those counties include: Ohio, Daviess, Hancock, McLean, Henderson, Webster and Union.

The seven county regional broadband wireless network is expected to cost $2.4 million. The funds will be used to purchase towers, transmitters, receivers and antennas.

Governor Fletcher presented the Daviess County Fiscal Court with an additional $25,000 ceremonial check for a LGEDF grant. The grant will be used to assist the Regional Water Resource Agency (RWRA) and the Owensboro Grain Company with the purchase and installation of a 26-inch storm water force main from RWRA'S Center Street pump station to the Max Rhoads Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The Governor’s Office for Local Development is the agency responsible for administering the LGEDF grants.