Owensboro-Daviess County Convention Center
LOCATION: Owensboro, Kentucky
AREA: 170,000 square feet
CONSTRUCTION COST: $45 million
Owensboro is the county seat of Daviess County in north-central Kentucky. Originally part of Shawnee territory, white settlers first arrived in the 1700s. Over time the city played a minor role in the Civil War era, served as an important river port, which continues to this day, and was the site of the last public hanging in US history. The city’s environs gave birth to the Bluegrass sound in American music, as originally performed by Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys starting in the 1930s and 40s, continuing on through today. Numerous festivals are held in the downtown area, including the National Barbecue Festival and many national and regional amateur sports competitions.
The site of the new convention center on the Ohio River Bank was previously occupied by the Executive Inn which accommodated performances by many of the most popular singers of its days. To accommodate this wide range of activities, programs and events, as well as to provide an important economic development tool, the city has undertaken the development of a new convention center which includes over 40,000 sf of exhibition space, nearly 30,000 sf of meeting space and extensive public lobbies, as well as service and support facilities.
Organized on two levels with the halls at grade and the meeting and banquet facilities above, the complex will act as a beacon on the River, signaling the extraordinary ambitions of this community. The exhibition halls and meeting facilities are distinguished by views of the River while the lobbies overlook the historic downtown. Set in a newly developed riverside park, the facility will join a recently completed performing arts center and an expanded BluegrassMuseum honoring the city’s remarkable history as a triumvirate of public amenities unusual in communities of this scale.