Friday, December 5, 2008

Now is the Time to Invest in Downtown

The EDC Board of Directors strongly supports the investment in downtown Owensboro recommended by the Gateway Planning team last month.

The new proposed master plan, the result of an intensive placemaking process led by the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp and Downtown Development Corp., will result in a significant local investment over the next 5 years to match the $40 million federal investment in the Owensboro riverfront. The recommended Phase I public amenities and private investment in downtown are based on very rigorous economic analysis provided by the Gateway Planning.

"The full implementation of this plan will require commitment from both the public and private sectors. The EDC strongly encourages our elected officials to embrace and support this plan, and explore all possible revenue sources to make the necessary financial commitment to those aspects of the plan that clearly rest with the public sector," said EDC Board Chair Darrell Higginbotham. "We offer our pledge to be an advocate and facilitator with the private sector as well. Now is the time to take the necessary steps to realize the vast potential of our downtown."

Click here to read more about the downtown master plan.

Unilever plans to Add Jobs at Owensboro Facility

Unilever Foods North America recently announced an expansion of its Bertolli Frozen Food line. The original line was opened in 2007, and the additional expansion includes a $49 million capital investment. The Owensboro facility currently employs 450 individuals and plans to add an additional 89 over the next two years. Unilever is a global manufacturer of food and personal care products known by its brand names such as Dove, Degree, Suave, Lipton Tea, Slimfast, Ben & Jerry’s, Skippy Peanut Butter, Ragu and Bertolli.

Owensboro Life Science Partnership Receiving National Attention

The Owensboro Life Science Partnership is receiving state and national attention these days. The Partnership was recently nominated by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development as one of the Southern Growth Policies Board Innovator Awards. The Southern Growth Policies Board honors Southern initiatives that are improving economic opportunities and quality of life in the region. The 2009 Innovator Awards will be chosen from creative initiatives in the region that encourage economic opportunities relating to bio-products, alternative energy, and/or energy efficiency. The recent announcement of the partnership between Kentucky BioProcessing and Bayer as well as the announcement of the planned Centre for Business and Research high tech accelerator and research center was picked up by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) as well as various national, regional, and state publications.

Forbes Karlgard: Entrepreneurs Make All the Difference

Forbes publisher Rich Karlgard, speaking at last month's Regional Economic Summit in Evansville, emphasized the opportunities that exist in America's heartland--places like Evansville, Henderson, and Owensboro. A key, according to Karlgard, are the entrepreneurs and how heartland communities embrace them.

"Too many communities spend all their energy trying to attract companies to move into their regions and not enough time making their communities entrepreneur-friendly," said Karlgard. He cited examples of how entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial spirit totally changed the face of regions as diverse as Seattle, WA; Fargo, ND; Duluth, MN; and Bozeman, MT.

Karlgard said regions, such as the Evansville, Henderson, and Owensboro area with populations from 250,000 to 500,000 that offer a range of amenities, yet a lifestyle devoid of urban problems will be attractive in the future. "Good K-12 education systems and low crime combined with urban amenities are going to be the keys to the future for regions such as this one," said Karlgard of the Tri-State Region.