Jim Zabek's job brought him to Owensboro thirty years ago. Zabek has seen a lot of change to the city over the years. "When I first came here downtown was horrible! Nobody wanted to go down there. I didn't even want to go down there. I was dirty, dungy, stores were closed. It just wasn't attractive," said Zabek.
Over the years the city of Owensboro has revitalized downtown, the Mechanicsville Neighborhood, and fixed most of the city's storm water problem. The National Civic League recently announced Owensboro is a finalist for the All-America City Awards Competition. "I think what it does it recognizes that we are a well run city that strategically plans. We don't just react to problems. We look out ahead," said Bill Parrish, Owensboro City Manager.
Parrish says that being chosen as a finalist shows that Owensboro is a growing community. He says future businesses could take Owensboro into consideration when looking for a place to relocate. "Instead of being reactive to the problem of the day I think this is recognition that the city of Owensboro and the people of Owensboro think about their problems that are ahead and looks at them strategically," said Parrish.
Zabek says he thinks Owensboro should win the award because the city has come a long ways over the years. "I would have never thought that it would have taken off this quick. Normally these things take 10-15 years. And we're seeing private investment rather heavily already," said Zabek.
The last time Owensboro was named an All-America City was in 1952 and a finalist in 1992.