City Commissioners on Tuesday approved a $3.5 million purchase of a full block of downtown properties totaling approximately 90,000 square feet, with the intent to build an indoor sports facility there. The downtown location was chosen over three other options that had been proposed.

The properties purchased Tuesday house and surround the Owensboro Antique Mall, and are located in between West 3rd and 4th streets and Locust and Cedar streets.

The decision to build the facility in that area came after looking at four locations throughout Owensboro, according to City Manager Nate Pagan. Other areas included KY 54, the intersection of Carter Road and Parrish Avenue, and South Frederica Street — the last of which Mayor Tom Watson was originally hopeful would be the new home.

“We reviewed various considerations including costs acquisition, site conditions and an impact on the visitor experience. So, after deliberation and discussions with the commission staff and our sports tourism consultant, the consensus has emerged to locate the facility downtown,” Pagan said.

The acquisition included 11 properties all previously owned by Gipe Enterprises.

According to Pagan, the location will allow the City to leverage past investments such as the Convention Center, the Locust Street Garage, and Smothers Park as part of the experience.

Additionally, the sports flooring at the Owensboro Convention Center allows simultaneous usage for large events. 

They also plan to use the parking lot across Cedar Street as additional parking as needed.

While the property has been acquired, the City has yet to approve the funding of the sports facility; however, that vote will occur at their December 20 meeting.

Commissioners will vote on whether to approve a 20-year, $44.9 million bond that would also help fund a transient boat dock among other city projects.

The first time the bond can be refinanced will be in 2030. A financial representative said Tuesday that the bond agency has a list of bidders across the country already. The bond would go up for sale on January 10, 2023, if approved.