Owensboro City Commission approves purchase of indoor sportsplex location

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Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 6:49 PM CST
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OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - A new indoor sportsplex is set to have a new home in downtown Owensboro.

The board of commissioners approved the municipal order for the property acquisition, at a value of just over $3 million.

The property takes up a whole block, and will be between Locust and Cedar St., and W 3rd and W 4th St.

”We have existing infrastructure in the convention center, the two locations could be compatible and could allow us to host larger events with a greater economic impact,” said City Manager Nate Pagan.

Pagan says they worked with a consultant to determine the best area to put the complex.

“He advised the downtown location in particular, and so it made sense to us,” Pagan said. “It best leverages our past investment downtown in Smothers Park and other assets.”

Local business owners shared mixed feelings about the location. For City Walk of Owensboro Executive Chef Nicholas Payne, the increased traffic is a huge plus.

“With this new sports complex I can say it’s going to be a lot busier,” Payne said. “We’re already packed enough as it is, and that’ll bring just a lot more business.”

But for other owners, like Willow and Pine owner Anne Higgins, the foot traffic is good, but not always beneficial.

“An increased amount of traffic does not always mean an increase in sales,” Higgins said. “They may come in the store, look, browse, doesn’t necessarily mean there’s an increase in retail sales.”

Higgins says she’s a fan of the city’s efforts of adding increased tourism to the downtown area, she’s just unsure how beneficial the complex will be for a retail shop such as hers.

Willow and Pine is located at the corner of 2nd St. and Saint Ann St., so parking also comes to mind as a possible issue.

“If the city isn’t proactive about providing parking for that sports complex, people will have no choice but to come park downtown,” Higgins said. “That will hurt the restaurants and the retail businesses down here.”

The property acquisition and build will in total cost $19 million when finished. No timetable has been set for the project to be done.