Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Plans for Mixed Use Project near Carter Road and Mid America Airpark

Massie-Clarke Development Company has taken the first step toward creating a residential, commercial and multi-family development on an 82-acre tract at Carter Road and Barron Drive.

The company has filed an application to rezone the property for mixed use development. It is now zoned for agriculture use.

"It's centrally located and inside the bypass," said Dave Appleby with Massie-Clarke. "I think with U.S. Bank adding 500 jobs out in the airpark, some new development out there is needed."

The rezoning will be on the Owensboro Metropolitan Planning Commission's Aug. 12 agenda.

"All we have done at this point is a conceptual plan," Appleby said. "We want to get it rezoned first. Then we can go to a design phase."

The plan shows residential development on the northeast side of the property with a small section designated as multi-family.

The commercial development is laid out on the western half of the property.

Before making its recommendation on the rezoning request, the OMPC staff will look at how it fits with the city's comprehensive plan and will examine the traffic impact study the company is required to do.

Appleby said he is hearing positive comments about projects under way in Owensboro.

"We have a lot of activity, a lot of things going on within the city, and I'd like to see something happening in this area," he said.

U.S. Bank Home Mortgage confirmed July 1 that it will add 500 jobs to its 1,000-plus employee base in Owensboro. Those employees will work in a new 81,000-square-foot building the city will build in the MidAmerica Airpark and lease to the bank.

"We hope to get some interest in this development," Appleby said. "And we hope the neighbors will embrace this."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Emerging Ventures, SCORE and GRADD to Host Social Networking Seminar

The eMerging Ventures Center for Innovation, the Daviess County chapter of SCORE and the Green River Area Development District are hosting a free two hour seminar to help you best utilize social networking to build your business.  In the first hour you will learn the basics of using Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking tools that can help you communicate with your customers/clients and grow your business. The second hour will be hosted by Agent511's Ankur Gopal who will provide tips and advanced techniques that will get your business noticed.  Participants are asked to bring their laptop computers.  Our goal will be for you to create and have in place a ready to use social networking strategy for your business before you leave.

The seminar will take place on July 27th at 5:15pm at GRADD's offices in Owensboro on Highway 60 West.  Participants are encouraged to pre-register by calling GRADD at 270-926-4433 or by going to the GRADD web site,

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Owensboro Ranked Among Top 100 Places to Live

Owensboro has been ranked in the top 100 on Money Magazine’s new “America’s Best Places to Live” report.

The report ranked “small” cities — those with populations between 50,000 and 300,000 — by criteria including such as job prospects, schools, low crime rates and things to do.

Owensboro was ranked 93rd. Money Magazine noted the city’s claim to being the “Bar-B-Q Capital of the World” and its free “Friday after 5” weekly concerts on its downtown riverfront each summer.

Owensboro students’ math and reading test scores are above the state average, the personal crime rate amounts to only two per 1,000 residents and it boasts average commute times of less than 13 minutes.

However, its median family income of $50,467 is well below the average of $90,957 among the 100 best cities, and it experienced a 7.25-percent decline in jobs from 2000 to 2009, compared with average job growth of 15.71 percent among the other cities.

Owensboro was the only city in Kentucky to make the list.

Eden Prairie, Minn., near the twin cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul, ranked No. 1 thanks to a low unemployment rate, numerous lakes, 125 miles of recreational trails and strong municipal financial condition.

Rounding out the top five were Columbia/Ellicott City, Md.; Newton, Mass.; Bellevue, Wash.; and McKinney, Texas.

The rankings are available in the August issue of Money and at

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bluegrass Museum could expand into New Downtown Location

The state office building at Second and Frederica streets would become the International Bluegrass Music Museum under the city's latest downtown master plan.

And the outside of the gray concrete-and-glass building would be modernized to make the museum an "iconic symbol" of Owensboro, Barry Alberts, managing partner of CityVisions, a Louisville consulting company, told a joint meeting of the Owensboro City Commission and Daviess Fiscal Court on Tuesday evening at City Hall.

Plans show on the Second Street side of the new museum a giant musical instrument similar to the electric guitar outside Hard Rock Cafes or the giant bat at the Louisville Slugger Museum in Louisville.

The 60,000-square-foot state office building is nearly three times the size of the 22,000-square-foot bluegrass museum at Second and Daviess streets.

Alberts said the river side of the building could open up with a stage facing what's now the parking lot but would become an outdoor performance area.

Plans call for an indoor performance area as well.

Terry Woodward, vice chairman of the museum's board of trustees, said last year the museum drew between 25,000 and 30,000 visitors. But they came from all 50 states and 42 countries, he said.

Woodward predicted that the museum could draw 200,000 a year if the new facility is done right and the community puts enough dollars into marketing.

The latest plan shows the planned Hampton Inn & Suites

See Museum/Page A2

at Second and St. Elizabeth streets -- where the old jail was. And the convention center would be on the site of the main tower of the old Executive Inn Rivermont.

Woodward said the museum board has long wanted a Bluegrass Opry -- a bluegrass version of the Grand Ole Opry. But the current museum isn't large enough to accommodate it.

"I think we can have a Bluegrass Opry at this building," he said of the state office building.

The museum already has an Internet radio station -- Radio Bluegrass International -- which can be heard around the world.

The city had planned to raze the state building and build either the hotel or convention center there.

But the soil was contaminated and that would have added to the cost, Mayor Ron Payne said.

By remodeling the building, he said, the city will save the cost of demolishing the building and removing the contaminated soil.

No cost estimates were available Tuesday for revamping the building for a museum.

Alberts suggested changing the name to International Bluegrass Music Center because that sounds more vibrant than a museum.

Woodward and Gabrielle Gray, the museum's executive director, agreed with the idea.

But Woodward said the museum's board hasn't yet met to discuss the idea.

However, Kitsy Kuykendall, the board chairwoman, said in a telephone interview: "I'm really pleased that Owensboro is putting a lot of money behind bluegrass. We really need more space for our exhibits."

The bluegrass world will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Rosine native Bill Monroe, "the father of bluegrass music," in 2011, she said. So the new museum would come at a good time, Kuykendall said.

She suggested that Owensboro incorporate the museum into a marketing plan that includes Monroe's boyhood home in Rosine along with the area hometowns of country and rock musicians including Merle Travis, Louis "Grandpa" Jones and The Everly Brothers.

City Commissioner David Johnson noted that the master plan includes about eight downtown performance venues. He asked if that were too many.

Alberts said it depends on how well they are marketed.

Gray said she doesn't expect to have any problem keeping two venues going at the bluegrass museum.

Woodward began a push 25 years ago, when he was chairman of the Owensboro-Daviess County Tourist Commission, to make Owensboro a center for bluegrass music.

The International Bluegrass Music Association moved here in 1986 and created Fan Fest and an awards show in Owensboro. In 1992, the bluegrass museum opened on a part-time basis.

It wouldn't open on a full-time basis until a decade later after a $3 million grant from the state.

The IBMA moved its events out of Owensboro in 1997. But Woodward said the museum can be more important on a long-term basis than the IBMA.

"We have to have more than a one-week-a-year festival," he said. "It's unlimited what we can do with a new facility."

The state office building opened in February 1974. It's a century newer than parts of the current museum.

The Turley Building on the northeast corner of Second and Daviess was built in 1873 and the Miller Building next door, which also houses part of the museum, was built in 1887.

The plans for the state office building property show an arcade along Veterans Boulevard behind the outdoor performance area, where food could be sold, Alberts said.

"Bluegrass is one of the things that defines Owensboro," he said. "You should have festivals downtown as often as possible."

Alberts said coming from Louisville he knew Owensboro for barbecue and bluegrass.

But there is no barbecue restaurant downtown and the bluegrass museum was hard to find.

City Commissioner Candance Brake called bluegrass "a market we can draw from internationally."

Plans for the new museum at the state office building "will pop the eye on that corner," she said.

Daviess Judge-Executive Reid Haire said the museum "can be a signature opportunity," but he said, "We've got to do what we can afford."

Keith Lawrence, 691-7301,

Arts Academy could find home in Bluegrass Museum

If the International Bluegrass Music Museum moves three blocks west to the state office building, the city hopes to move the planned arts academy into the museum's current home at Second and Daviess streets.

That would save an estimated $5 million from the cost of a new building, Mayor Ron Payne said in a meeting with the Messenger-Inquirer's editorial board Wednesday. And it would speed up the opening of the academy.

"We think that's a great idea," Roxi Witt, the RiverPark Center's general manager, said later. "It would really complement what we're doing."

The academy would offer a theater degree -- and possibly others -- through Kentucky Wesleyan College, Brescia University and Owensboro Community & Technical College. Students would be able to use the RiverPark Center's Cannon Hall and other RiverPark Center spaces for training.

Turning the state office building into a new International Bluegrass Music Center rather than demolishing it will save $600,000 by not removing contaminated soil from beneath the building and $800,000 in demolition costs, Payne said.

The soil is only dangerous if it is disturbed by digging, he said.

Some of the money saved could be used to create a more attractive exterior for the concrete-and-glass building and some could possibly be used to help pay off the debt at the RiverPark Center, Payne said.

But first, the bluegrass museum's board of trustees still has to approve the move.

Terry Woodward, the board's vice chairman, said the next board meeting is slated for November. "But we'll probably need to have one before then," he said.

First, he said, the board needs to do a study on the costs associated with moving to the new building and operating the museum there.

The current museum has 22,000 square feet. The state office building has 60,000.

"We need to get the feasibility study done quickly," Woodward said.

He wants the museum to start a bluegrass opry, a bluegrass version of Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, and add a summer musical, similar to Bardstown's "Stephen Foster Story."

Woodward said he would like to see the museum offer fiddle and banjo camps each year to complement its signature mandolin camp.

Barry Alberts, managing partner of CityVisions, a Louisville consulting company working on the downtown development project, said bluegrass is a natural brand for Owensboro that can be used to attract visitors from around the world.

The plans call for a giant musical instrument -- maybe a copy of Bill Monroe's mandolin -- on the Second Street side of the building. And Alberts showed photos of bicycle racks shaped like musical instruments for downtown.

Woodward said there are an estimated 50 million to 60 million bluegrass fans worldwide.

Payne said the city and county want to approach state and federal officials about having the museum declared the nation's official bluegrass museum.

He said as far as the city is concerned the move is "pretty much a done deal."

The city would pay for work on the exterior of the building and the museum would pay for whatever is done inside, Payne said.

A key to the move's success, Woodward said, is money to market the museum.

"We have to bring people to town to fill the hotels," he said.

Payne said the city is considering creating a public events department to promote events, including bluegrass festivals and possibly "dragon boat" races "along our beautiful riverfront."

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the city's move to become a center of bluegrass music.

Keith Lawrence, 691-7301,

Owensboro's New Riverfront and Convention Center

A consultant's proposal for downtown Owensboro was met with praise and general agreement Tuesday by members of the Owensboro City Commission and Daviess Fiscal Court.

The plan calls for these steps:

* Construction of a downtown Owensboro convention and events center on the former Executive Inn Rivermont site.

* Conversion of the state office building into a new International Bluegrass Music Museum.

* Placement of a hotel immediately west of the state office building.

"One thing we wanted to do was get the wow factor back," said Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne. "When this is done, we're going to have the wow factor back. What is really exciting is it's in our reach. We can make it happen."

"I think it's an excellent recommendation," said Daviess County Judge-Executive Reid Haire. "I love the recommendation, and I hope the steering committee accepts it."

The Downtown Events Center Steering Committee, of which Haire is the chairman and Payne is a member, is the group with the authority to approve the recommendation. The plan was delivered by Barry Alberts, managing partner of CityVisions, the Louisville consulting firm the steering committee hired to help it plan a $27 million convention and events center. The steering committee meets to talk about the proposal this morning.

What Alberts laid out Tuesday at City Hall makes extensive use of the city-owned Executive Inn property for the events center, with a dramatic "river room" built on the former Showroom Lounge platform that projects over the Ohio River. Meanwhile, a $20 million, 150-room Hampton Inn & Suites hotel to be built by developer Malcolm Bryant is proposed for the old county jail site at St. Elizabeth and Second streets.

Earlier proposals involved demolishing the state office building and putting the hotel in its place, connected to the events center just to the west of the hotel. But as Alberts pointed out, the availability of the Executive Inn property opened up new possibilities to take greater advantage of the river by moving the events center closer to it.

"The city was courageous and did a smart thing to take down the Executive Inn," Alberts said. "We had the luxury to looking at a really large piece of property for a hotel and convention center."

Alberts said the recommendation would do the following:

* Optimize access to the edge of the river.

* Provide a strong connection between the Executive Inn site and the heart of downtown.

* Maximize the connection of the events center to the river.

* Provide space for outdoor events and festivals.

* Take advantage of the Showroom Lounge piers.

* Maximize access and visibility of the hotel.

* Instead of trying to cram the events center into the existing grid, we'll move it to the river," Alberts said. "We will actually bring the events center to the river."

Converting the state office building into a new bluegrass museum adds a third facility to the events center/hotel mix, Alberts said, one that is needed to create critical mass and attract visitors to the area. The idea also saves the state office building from destruction and saves the money that would have been spent to take it down, Alberts said. That money can be used to change the appearance of the building and redo its interior.

City Commissioner Candance Brake endorsed the idea of an events center close to the Ohio River.

"It's a wow from the river and a wow from the bridge," she said. "It's something we can all go to and something we have to have."

City Commissioner David Johnson, a member of the steering committee, praised the concept and called it a good example of why consultants can be valuable resources. City Commissioner John Kazlauskas said it was important for downtown redevelopment to be done right.

"This is a good footprint," he said.

County Commissioner Bruce Kunze expressed pleasure with the reuse of the state office building and told Alberts he had done a great job. Commissioner Mike Riney called it a good plan that accomplishes and embodies everything that has been envisioned for downtown.

"I'm pretty happy with everything," he said.

County Commissioner Jim Lambert called it an excellent plan.

Bryant said the positioning of the hotel between the new bluegrass museum and the events center is workable for him as long as the museum and the events centers are executed correctly.

"We've got some design work to do," he said.

Steve Vied, 691-7297,

New hospital expected to give boost to many local businesses

The construction phase of Owensboro Medical Health System's new hospital is expected to generate from 1,000 to 1,500 new contract worker jobs over three years, according to OMHS' estimates.

But the addition of this new, 477-bed, $385 million hospital also will result in a trickle-down effect that could boost the bottom line of some of the health care system's local customers and the region as a whole.

"We are their food vendor," said Steve Frey, president of CRS OneSource. "Along with the hospital being vital to the community, they are very important to our 162 employees. They are a very good customer of ours."

The patient count is expected to go up along with the hospital's payroll. That will translate into a greater amount of business for the food vendor, Frey said.

"The larger they become, the more they will increase their services," he said. "And they do stay local with a lot of their business."

CRS does business with a lot of hospitals, Frey said.

"When the economy goes bad, people stay home and don't go out to eat," he said. "Having the hospital's business is good for us."

Frey estimates that OMHS now purchases about $1.2 million in goods annually from CRS.

The company delivers food at least once daily to OMHS and sometimes more often, as needed.

Groundbreaking for the new hospital was June 5.

The economic boost from construction doesn't count the medical profession jobs that will be added as the hospital prepares to open the new facility in 2013.

OMHS expects its annual payroll to go from $169 million reported in February of this year to $193 million in 2013, according to OMHS President/CEO Jeff Barber's estimates.

Combined employment in 1995 when Owensboro-Daviess County Hospital and Mercy Hospital merged was 2,000. In February of this year, the total was 3,200.

It is likely to exceed 4,000 in the next five to 10 years, Barber has said.

Several other local businesses are certain they will benefit from the hospital's growth.

The hospital has been a good customer for Ernie Davis and Sons Mechanical for many years, and its expansion should have a positive impact, Ernie Davis said.

"It's just hard to say by how much," Davis said. "We do a lot of doctor's offices, and my brother (Jerry) and I have a lot of rental property, so I expect it to help us in many different ways."

Levi Reames, owner and operator of Comfort Keepers, sees the benefits of a new hospital campus for both his business and the community.

"It's impossible to quantify the impact for us, but the new hospital will be absolutely great," he said.

Comfort Keepers provides non-medical home health care.

"People are living longer and need more health care, and often they also need someone to take care of them when they go home," Reames said. "It's nothing for me to see a 90-plus-year-old that is still highly functional because of advances in health care."

Reames, who moved to Owensboro from Kokomo, Ind., also is proud of Owensboro for nurturing the health care industry.

"Kokomo is a factory town with about 20 percent unemployment," he said. "The jobs here are not going to be shipped out."

EDC study shows impact on region

Nick Brake, president and CEO of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp., often refers to health care as a major driver of the regional economy.

"Hospitals make substantial contributions to local and regional economies through the purchase of goods and services and the employment of large numbers of workers," Brake said.

Brake analyzed statistics from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Bureau of Labor Statistics in September 2009 to get a glimpse of the additional earnings and jobs the hospital's expansion will create.

The data shows that the hospital is a base industry in the Owensboro metropolitan statistical area, which means that each dollar spent for earnings and employment creates additional earnings and jobs in the region.

The hospital's investment in a new facility will lead to 500 new long-term health care jobs through 2014, Brake said. That will translate to 800 new jobs in the region and more than $24 million in new payroll earnings in the five-county region.

Brake's estimates don't include the construction jobs or the new jobs that will come with new physicians recruited to the area.

The EDC president points to research from 2009 at the University of New Orleans that shows how hospitals in small, metropolitan areas such as Owensboro have the potential to evolve as a significant export industry -- since they often provide basic care in surrounding geographic areas.

Citing the hospital's 11-county service area, Brake said health care likely will grow as an export industry and add significantly to the regional economic base.

The hospital's percentage of Medicare dollars received from patients outside the metropolitan area is a significant measure of export revenue from the health care industry, Brake said.

OMHS receives 20 percent of its Medicare revenue or $75 million in net payments from outside Owensboro and Daviess County, according to the hospital's data. The median percentage in the University of New Orleans study was 12 percent.

The greater Owensboro region also has a stronger concentration of health care-related jobs than nationally, also a sign of the importance of this sector to the regional economy, Brake said.

And the average salary for health care practitioners in the region is more than $52,000 per year -- more than double the median income in the Owensboro MSA.

* To learn more about the new hospital project, go to:

Joy Campbell, 691-7299,

Incentives Key to US Bank Project

Thursday's announcement that U.S. Bank Home Mortgage will add 500 jobs in Owensboro wouldn't have been possible without a "robust" incentive package, Nick Brake, president of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp., said Friday.

The company flatly said it had to be able to do a building project at low cost, Brake said. Without that ability, the jobs would go elsewhere.

"We were told by the company that was paramount," Brake said. "If they couldn't lower their capital cost, they would go elsewhere. ... Without that, Owensboro would not get the expansion. We were told it wouldn't happen."

Consequently, a state and local incentive package valued at more than $6 million was put together for U.S. Bank. The city's portion, which is valued at $1.7 million, will consist of building and leasing an 81,000-square-foot office building on a 13-acre site to the bank at a below-market lease.

The lease payments from the bank and proceeds from the city's occupational tax collected from the employees will be used to pay the majority of the debt service on the $10 million to $11 million cost to construct the building. The difference, which the city will cover, will come to about $1.7 million over 20 years.

As for the state incentives, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority has preliminarily approved U.S. Bank National Association for state tax incentives up to $4.37 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. Those will be earned over a 10-year period through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments.

U.S. Bank Home Mortgage will invest $14.1 million in the expansion.

At least two other cities where U.S. Bank has facilities with excess space competed with Owensboro for the jobs, Brake said. In the end, the incentives that were provided to lower the company's cost of doing business and the company's confidence in the local work force carried the day for Owensboro, he said.

"U.S. Bank likes the work force in Owensboro," Brake said. "We had to sell them on the number of workers (available). They had some reservations. But Bob Smiley is very sold on the work force here."

Smiley is vice president of U.S. Bank Home Mortgage and lives and works in Owensboro. He said the company's legacy in Owensboro, going back to the days when it was Lincoln Services, has resulted in a strong work force.

"When I got here (11 years ago) I found a very talented group of professionals," Smiley said. "I still have all those people."

Smiley said the bank has found 300 people for its new Highland Pointe location with few issues. He expects the same for the MidAmerica Airpark location at Tamarack and Carter roads.

"We seem to be able to attract good people," he said.

When the new building opens in March, the bank will be looking for loan counselors, loss mitigators and loan modifiers, customer service representatives, escrow processors and payment processors, among other workers.

Brake said the expansion will be done in two phases.

The first will be the building of a 47,000-square-foot building for 300 employees. That building is expected to be finished in March. The second phase will be a second building of 34,000 square feet for 200 workers. The timetable for the second phase depends on how fast the bank's mortgage business grows, Brake said.

The buildings will be built by private contractors chosen by a bid process. U.S. Bank will supply the specifications for the building.

Smiley confirmed that other cities with U.S. Bank facilities had room for the jobs that will be coming to Owensboro. Cities in Kansas, Idaho and Wisconsin had available space, he said.

"We do have opportunities to grow other places," he said. "We needed to look at other options and other sites were considered. All the other places were looked at, and we shared that with the state and city. We wanted everyone to put their best foot forward, and that's what they did. I do know Kentucky had a good showing. That's why we're here. This is one of the largest expansions we've done."

Brake said his office and state officials began working closely with U.S. Bank in March. He and Larry Hayes, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, went to Milwaukee to speak to U.S. Bank site selection officials.

"From our vantage point, we were looking at a very competitive situation," Brake said. "We saw this as too good of an opportunity to pass up. It positions them for more growth here. We couldn't afford not to put this deal together."

Forty more acres are available next to the site of the U.S. Bank expansion, Brake said.

Steve Vied, 691-7297,

Thursday, July 1, 2010

US Bank to Add 500 Jobs at Owensboro Mortgage Serving Center

OWENSBORO, Ky. (July 1, 2010) Demonstrating the state's commitment to support its existing industries, Gov. Steve Beshear today visited Owensboro to announce a major expansion at US Bank that will create 500 new jobs in Owensboro.

The U.S. Bank National Association's Home Mortgage's Servicing Center in Owensboro supports U.S. Bank's national portfolio, will invest more than $14.1 million as a result of the expansion and add a location in the Mid America Airpark in Owensboro.

"Today's announcement that U.S. Bank will create 500 new jobs is fantastic economic development news for Owensboro and Kentucky," said Gov. Beshear. "I am pleased that the Commonwealth could once again partner with our existing industries to create employment opportunities and secure additional capital investments in Kentucky facilities."

A subsidiary of US Bancorp, a division of U.S. Bank National Association, U.S. Bank Home Mortgage is ranked sixth among originators and servicers nationally. US Bank originates loans nationwide through its network of more than 2,700 branch banks in 24 states. The Owensboro Mortgage Servicing Center supports U.S. Bank's the bank's national portfolio of nearly $1.4 million loans totaling $193 198 billion. An increase in demand for U.S. Bank mortgage products and services has spurred the expansion. The company plans to lease an 81,000 square-foot facility in the Mid-America Air Park to house the new employees. Owensboro's existing facility facilities currently employs just over 1,100 people.

"We continue to add quality loans to our solid mortgage portfolio," added Dan Arrigoni, President of U.S. Bank Home Mortgage. "We're continuing to invest in our infrastructure so that we can keep providing top-notch service for our existing customers while building for our future mortgage growth." Bob Smiley, U.S. Bank executive vice president and loan servicing manager at U.S. Bank Home Mortgage in Owensboro said the portfolio has continued to grow at a rapid pace since reaching a milestone in 2007 by surpassing $100 billion in servicing volume. Today, only 36 months later, we have nearly doubled that volume to $198 billion.

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved U.S Bank National Association for tax incentives up to $4,370,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The incentive can be earned over a 10-year period through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments. Additionally, KEDFA approved the company for tax benefits up to $130,000 through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act, which allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures and equipment used in research and development. The City of Owensboro has pledged to partner with US Bank with a local incentive valued at $1.7 million.

"US Bank is a corporate citizen who we are extremely proud to partner with," added Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne. "The city sees this as a project with great benefits today and significant potential for the future. Owensboro is on the move thanks to the efforts of US Bank and many others. We are growing stronger together."

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Swedish Match to Invest $3.7 Million in Owensboro Plant to Retain 300 Jobs

OWENSBORO, Ky. (July 1, 2010) Demonstrating the state's commitment to support its existing industries, Gov. Steve Beshear today visited Owensboro to announce an investment by Pinkerton Tobacco that will reinvest in the Owensboro plant and preserve 296 jobs in the community.

Pinkerton Tobacco, a subsidiary of Swedish Match, North America, plans a significant investment in its Owensboro plant that will allow the company to upgrade its facility and retain nearly 300 employees.

"Today's announcement that Pinkerton Tobacco will reinvest in its plant, retaining another 296 jobs, is fantastic economic development news for Owensboro and Kentucky," said Gov. Beshear. "I am pleased that the Commonwealth could once again partner with our existing industries to create employment opportunities and secure additional capital investments in Kentucky facilities."

Pinkerton Tobacco, which was established in Owensboro in 1973, produces smokeless tobacco products under the brand name of Red Man, Timber Wolf, Longhorn and Renegades at its 450,000 square-foot Owensboro plant. The company will invest $3.7 million in equipment upgrades that will allow for a continued production level, retention of the current market and the ability to maintain an existing workforce of 296 people. The reinvestment project will also encourage projections of up to 10 percent annual growth.

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved Pinkerton Tobacco for tax incentives up to $1.85 million through the Kentucky Reinvestment Act, a program that was expanded in the Governor's Incentives for a New Kentucky bill last summer to assist companies that need to make significant capital investment in Kentucky facilities in order to remain competitive.

“Swedish Match/ Pinkerton has been a longstanding corporate partner in the Owensboro region," said Daviess County Judge Executive Reid Haire. "Their growth and long-term commitment speaks volumes about the good things happening in Owensboro and Daviess County.”

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