The City Commission’s failure to amend the smoking ordinance could be the final blow to revitalizing the south Frederica corridor. Ellis Entertainment, LLC committed to make a $30M+ investment that would create hundreds of jobs; generate tax revenue to fund community projects, support nonprofits, stave off future tax increases for residents; and provide synergistic benefits to other businesses as it draws more people to Owensboro for entertainment.
The economic impact of 130 jobs alone could have yielded a $29 million annual benefit to the community. Ellis designed a facility that allows its adult patrons who choose to smoke to do so in a completely segregated, small section, equipped with a standalone, state-of-the-art ventilation system. No food or beverage would be served in the section, nearly eliminating the need for any employees to enter the area.
The community’s response to Ellis’ announced withdrawal from Owensboro is clear: the community wants progress, tax revenue, jobs, entertainment, and the revitalization of south Frederica. The City still has an opportunity to salvage the situation in two ways. First, the Commissioners can actually vote on whether to amend the smoking ordinance to provide the narrow exception requested by Ellis. Second, if that fails, the Commission can vote on whether to allow the parcel leased by Ellis to be de-annexed from the City and allow all of the aforementioned benefits to flow to Daviess County, whose smoking ordinance would permit the plans developed by Ellis.
The next City Commission meeting is Tuesday, June 6. Make your voice heard. Contact the Commissioners. Ask for these issues to be put on the agenda for a vote. Then, show up for the meeting and learn whether each Commissioner stands for progress.
TSM Holdings LLC, owner of the Town Square Mall