• 401 Frederica Street, B-203
  • Owensboro, Kentucky 42301
  • (270) 685-2652 | FAX (270) 685-6074

Residents shape Old Germantown redevelopment

For more than two years, residents of the Old Germantown Neighborhood have shaped the $5 million redevelopment underway in the area. In advisory committee meetings and public hearings, residents reviewed census data, property evaluation information, zoning regulations, plans, budgets, and priorities.

According to City of Owensboro Community Development Director Keith Free, the plan is 85 percent complete. The centerpiece of the project (that was not included in the budget) is a new park on the approximate site of the Smith Machine property on J.R. Miller Boulevard. Architects will soon be retained to design the park and homes that will be built on its perimeter.

The district (bounded by J.R. Miller Boulevard, Bolivar Street, Ninth Street, and Fifth Street) is undergoing an ambitious facelift through $2 million in federal Housing and Urban Development funds and $3 million in private investment. By year end, home ownership is expected to climb from 38 to 55 percent. It is hoped that the redevelopment effort will also reduce crime, illegal drug activity, and other problems that have plagued the Old Germantown area.

Residents share faith traditions

The Owensboro Human Relations Commission featured representatives of two dozen faith communities in a Religious Roundtable on April 21st. The forum provided an opportunity for attendees and a television audience to listen and learn about diverse faith traditions that are present in our community: history, beliefs, misconceptions, membership, and more.

Perhaps future programs will address discrimination, cultural difficulties, language barriers, hate crimes, and other problems faced by certain cultures and faith communities, as well as steps our community can take to promote understanding and tolerance. As our community becomes increasingly diverse, this kind of dialogue will be increasingly important and valuable.

Report on City-County Unification Test Forum

On February 28, the Public Life Foundation convened 12 citizens to participate in a forum (a "run through") to test the effectiveness of a dialogue guide and format for future forums on this important, re-emerging community issue.

Participants reflected a balanced demographic mix of ages, gender, and place of residence. Following the forum, participants completed a questionnaire. One hundred percent of the participants indicated that:

  • the forum helped them understand the unification issues and choices facing our community
  • the forum helped them gain a greater understanding of other points of view
  • others should participate in a similar forum
  • forums such as this should be held throughout the period that the city-county task force is doing its work (rather than wait until the task force completes its work)
  • the information was clear and easy to understand, fair and balanced

All but one participant indicated that forums such as this will reduce the divisiveness that characterized the 1990 merger initiative. At this point, City and County officials recommend that the task force be given time to gather more facts, examine unified departmental scenarios, and more fully identify the advantages and disadvantages of unification before engaging in dialogue with the public.

For a complete summary of the February 28 forum, call the Public life Foundation: 270/685-2652.

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