In a press conference Wednesday morning at the Owensboro Convention Center, Governor Steve Beshear announced plans for the state of Kentucky to provide an additional $5 million towards the International Bluegrass Music Center.
Several state and local government officials spoke during the press conference including Representative Tommy Thompson, state Senator Joe Bowen, Mayor Ron Payne, and Bluegrass Museum chairmen, Terry Woodward and Rosemary Conder.
Governor Beshear attributed the partnership of state and city governments to the vision, hard work and planning of the citizens of Owensboro. These funds represent the last of the money needed to begin construction of the Center. Groundbreaking is scheduled for later this summer, with completion expected in 2017.
“A rebirth is underway in Owensboro, today we prove that rebirth continues,” he explained.
“The board is very grateful to the state of Kentucky; in particular, the Governor and elected Representatives for their tremendous support of our organization and the realization of bluegrass music as Kentucky’s gift to the world.” – Rosemary Conder, Chairman of IBMC design committee
In November, 2012, the International Bluegrass Music Museum embarked on the most exciting and challenging project in its 23-year history — to build a new International Bluegrass Music Center. This Center will house an exciting and vastly improved new museum, as well as the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame, a 500-seat state-of-the-art concert hall, an international hall, teaching rooms, a research library, and a rooftop restaurant overlooking the Ohio River.
The City of Owensboro is providing a free 99-year lease to the museum for the prime riverfront property upon which the new Center will be built, as well as contributing $5.4 million to the project. The property comprises an entire city block at the heart of our newly revitalized downtown area, and is adjacent to our new Convention Center, two new hotels, and our new $64 million waterfront park.
This $15.3 million project will allow IBMM to house the world’s foremost collection of bluegrass artifacts, memorabilia, and music recordings in a safe environment for generations to come.
Bluegrass music is a treasured art form performed in dozens of countries around the world, and the IBMM works daily to preserve this rich and vibrant history through its archival and educational programs.