After several decades of public service, Mayor Ron Payne says he will not seek reelection.
He oversaw a lot of change in his two terms in charge. Payne says the time was right to step aside.
“It has been an honor to have been your mayor during these exciting times,” he said during his announcement on Friday afternoon.
As he held back the emotions, Mayor Payne announced he was letting go of public service.
“It was not an easy decision to make, but I think it was the right decision to make,” he says.
He spent 38 years, 24 at Owensboro City Hall, in a variety of government roles here and in Oklahoma. Mayor. City commissioner. City manager. Since his election in 2008, he oversaw the revitalization of downtown Owensboro, re-construction of Smothers Park, the rise of the new convention center and two neighboring hotels with a third in the works, and more development coming soon.
“I think it is the catalyst for so many other things in our community,” says Payne. “Think about what is going on now, or will be going on this summer. Those projects would not be underway if we had not done what we did downtown.”
“It’s sort of bittersweet,” said Terry Woodward, President of WaxWorks-VideoWorks, who encouraged payne to run for mayor eight years ago.
“I remember him as someone that understood what needed to be done and he understood how to get it done,” says Woodward. “The public sector stepped up and when the public sector steps up, then the private sector steps up.”
Payne says he wants to see construction start on the International Bluegrass Music Center, and keep working on the city’s two planned TIF districts and job creation.
“The city’s turned the corner. It’s got a bright future. I can feel comfortable about leaving that I’ve accomplished what I want to accomplish, and the city’s in good hands,” Payne says.
Payne added he announced today to give others thinking of running enough time to decide. The filing deadline for mayor is in August.