To: email@example.com International Bluegrass Music Museum
July 8, 2010
Dear IBMM Members:
In light of the much-heralded announcement made to the press by the City of Owensboro last night to make their newly-acquired 60,000 square foot building at the intersection of Main and Frederica Streets available to the International Bluegrass Music Museum for a new International Bluegrass Music Center, today we have been fielding phone calls and emails from people who are very excited by the possibilities (as indeed we all are). This letter will attempt to give information regarding the proposal, and as many answers as we have at this time.
The proposed Center would house the museum as well as other elements relating directly to bluegrass i.e. (POSSIBLY) a Bluegrass Opry, concert hall, bluegrass library, international center, recording studio, radio station, outdoor amphitheater, etc. Each element will be priced and either planned or not, according to what we can do with the funding we receive and raise. Most important, of course, is planning for posterity, for preservation of our current and growing collection of artifacts, and continuing the important work we're already doing such as gathering, digitizing, and cataloguing the video oral histories of the early practitioners of bluegrass music.
It's necessary for everyone to understand that the details are yet to be worked out, and that the museum's Board of Trustees has yet to vote to accept the building as the museum's new home. Much planning will need to be done by our board, museum staff and city planners to determine exactly what the new Bluegrass Center will look like, what it will house, what elements will be incorporated into the plan, and then financing over and above what the City is going to donate will have to be found. These costs are as yet undetermined and will continue to be thus until such time as plans for the new International Bluegrass Music Center are solidified and budgeted.
Our first step is a feasibility study that will begin almost immediately to determine whether or not the museum can sustain the increase in general operating expense inherent with occupying and maintaining a building three times the size of our current museum and staffing the new center appropriately to handle the plans as-yet-to-be adopted.
The proposed timeline for completion of the new riverfront development is the summer of 2012. Construction is to begin on the hotel and convention center by mid-2011. If the museum moves to this new location, it's possible that both the renovation and move could be completed in a year -- that is optimistic but not unreasonable, provided the funding is found, architectural renderings are approved, and the renovation goes smoothly.
The City of Owensboro and Daviess County Fiscal Court also publicly announced last night that they intend for the focus of Owensboro henceforth to be "Bluegrass". This is not surprising as this has always been a mega-bluegrass-supportive environment, thanks primarily to Terry Woodward's vision, leadership and generosity. What is a surprise, and a delightful one, is that they would help us move to the best block of real estate in town, in a building they would own and maintain, in the absolute kingpin location of a massive riverfront redevelopment project that spans 1.1 miles from the existing RiverPark Center all the way to English Park, incorporating the old Executive Inn property in approximately the center of that expanse. This is such an affirmation of Bluegrass Music and the Bluegrass Museum that it's impossible to put into words how elated this makes us feel. But of course, there is the money to raise!
Current potential plans have a large new Hampton Inn across one street, a new convention & events center across the other street, and the Ohio River running in front of it all. Current plans also have the convention center incorporating the pier structure on the river (from the old Executive Inn Showcase Lounge) into the new convention center, recapturing memories of all the great music shows that have taken place in that exact location over many decades.
All of this comes at a time when we are in full-scale planning for the Bill Monroe Centennial Celebration in 2011. SO, we are going to be BUSY, and again, if you can volunteer to help, please put us in your schedule. Maybe you can find a week in the winter of 2010 or the spring/summer of 2011 to spend here in O'boro making some significant dreams come true for current and future generations to enjoy.
As plans progress, we will keep you posted. Garian Vigil is the museum's publicist, so please stay tuned to her posts, as many of our announcements will come through her.
Thanks for everything each of you do to make bluegrass music so exciting that this city would take on such a large financial commitment to make an even-more marvelous home for the music we all love.
We welcome your input and suggestions. Please let us hear from you
My best to all,