A ten- year planning and development process has produced more than $200 million in public and private development in the city’s historic riverfront area. One of the major projects included in this work is a $40,000,000 bank stabilization project on the Ohio River that is designed to stop the erosion of Smothers Park, which overlooks the river. This project recaptured two-and-a-half acres of previously eroded parkland and expanded the park into a larger, regional attraction for the tri-state areas of Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana. In addition, $52,000,000 in city-financed projects are adding promenades, a water-jet fountain, a riverfront playground, and a host of street and sidewalk design features to invite more foot traffic downtown.
As it sought to revitalize its riverfront/downtown areas, Owensboro did not neglect nearby neighborhoods. The Community Development Department developed detailed neighborhood redevelopment plans for three neighborhoods that would be implemented from 2000 — 2014. These three redevelopment efforts have resulted in total public and private investment of $21.5 million (public $8.7 million + private $13.1 million), the construction of 179 new homes, an increase in an average homeownership rate within the neighborhoods of 16% and a 39% increase in taxable property valuations within the areas.
Storm water improvements
To address water quality issues, increased flooding and residential growth, the city of Owensboro embarked on a phased project to upgrade its storm water control system. The goals were to provide the residents with a safe, efficient and reliable roadway network, a properly operating storm drainage system, and a safe and healthy environment. These goals are achieved by convening a community advisory committee and using the most up-to-date design and maintenance methods and procedures to assure local, state and federal regulations. To date $100,000,000 worth of projects have been completed as a result of efforts and collaboration between the City of Owensboro and Regional Water Resource Agency to improve storm water quality within the city of Owensboro.