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Owensboroans Could Be Playing ‘Bridge’ Annually

Bridge Day. (Photo by Dave Spencer)

It was like we had all been released out of a sling shot. The bridge opens to foot and bike traffic and we can’t get on it quick enough. I had a great time, just like everyone else. Yesterday morning, I was looking again at the photos I took when I walked the bridge on Friday. And then I’m reading in the Messenger-Inquirer that Mayor Ron Payne is working on an annual “Bridge Day.” Listen, that is an idea I feel will be whole-heartedly supported by this community, based on what I saw Friday. Wall-to-wall people–or, should I say railing-to-railing–from the time it opened until the time it closed. The people of Owensboro love this river. And if that isn’t an indication that it needs to be used as often as is feasible, then I don’t know what is. That observation was shared by Mayor Payne in the M & I article. And he’s right. Friday After 5 draws a huge crowd. The Barbecue Festival speaks for itself. (Yeah, I know you could probably have the BBQ Fest just about anywhere and get a massive turnout, but I can’t help but think that being on the river enhances its appeal.)

Riverfront project. (Photo by Dave Spencer)

The downtown projects look promising; I was able to get a shot of the riverfront work on a recent visit to the top of the parking garage. There’s abundant potential everywhere. You know, when I was on vacation two months ago and staying in Rapid City, South Dakota, a thought occurred to me. Here I am in a city of about 63,000, give or take, and it knows how to use its greatest asset. Granted, its greatest asset is its proximity to one of AMERICA’S greatest assets–Mt. Rushmore–but, so what? My point is, the best American cities of any size capitalize on what they have. Right now, for Owensboro, its momentum. The cynical may disagree and think my head is filled with butterflies and unicorns, but I have eyes. I’m seeing road work everywhere I turn. Things are happening quickly out on 54. Governor Steve Bashear was just in town for two huge groundbreaking ceremonies involving large-scale road projects. I guess what I’m saying is, I’ve been here a VERY LONG time and have never seen this kind of movement in this city before. I think it’s encouraging. And I don’t believe I’m alone. There were over 12,000 people on that bridge Friday and I would imagine there’s a decent percentage of that crowd who would agree with me.

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