Last-minute changes to Owensboro's riverfront plans

By Ben Garbarek - bio | email | Twitter

OWENSBORO, KY (WFIE) - Construction crews put the last steel pilings into the river wall and now the city has had to make some last-minute changes to its plans at Smothers Park. The city said it was handed lemons and were able to make lemonade.

Smothers Park is set to become the face of Owensboro's riverfront and downtown revitalization. FEMA rules required the food and concession buildings they're going to build be raised one to two feet to prevent any flooding issues. The city said it threw off the rest of their plans for the park.

"That one to two feet may seem like a minor number," Tony Cecil, operations manager, said. "But the proximity of that building to the promenade and the wall itself is quite a design challenge to get that elevation change in that small of an area."

The restaurant and concession area would be moved to the center of the park and patio seating will now be available. The city said the change will also save $25,000 in construction costs. The playground will have to be shrunk slightly but overall those working on the project say the new design works.

"I like it a lot better than I did before," engineer Ted Lolley said. "It's a better plan than it was before, it's less expensive, it's easier to construct, it satisfies the requirements of FEMA so all things are good."

Construction is slated to finish on the river wall and Smothers Park some time November of next year.

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