Chamber, EDC, CVB create recovery task force

The Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce, Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp. and the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau have created a 17-member GO Forward Economic Recovery Task Force to help with the community’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We tried to cover all the bases,” Brittaney Johnson, president of the EDC, said Wednesday.

The task force includes members of local government, the hospitality industry, the Owensboro Riverport Authority, Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport, agribusiness, health care, school systems, higher education, workforce development and nonprofits.

Johnson said the group met on Zoom on June 5.

“We talked about what we’re working on,” she said. “We’re going to meet every couple of weeks.”

Johnson said the task force has created an online one-stop shop for finding resources to help both workers and businesses at

She said, “We’ve had minimal industrial disruptions. The few companies that shut down are ramping back up.”

But Johnson said, “Schools are challenged with how to reopen safely. The cost of PPE and cleaning supplies is affecting small businesses. It’s going well, but there are still challenges.”

Candance Castlen Brake, chamber president, said, “The three of us have been working together for several weeks to collectively address issues. But we want to work with others to address any gaps.”

She said, “We had some major momentum in March and we need to recapture that.”

Brake said she hasn’t heard from any chamber members who are thinking of closing their doors.

But many of them are struggling, she said.

Brake said, “There was a big sigh of relief when they were able to reopen. But they’ve had a deluge of new guidelines. One described it as like standing in the middle of a fire with a garden hose.”

She said the task force needs to look at child care, so parents can get back to work.

Mark Calitri, CVB president, said, “Our tourism partners, including hotels, restaurants, museums and attractions, were the first and hardest hit by the pandemic. Now that our reopening process is in full swing, it is time to demonstrate that Greater Owensboro is open for business and that we will get through this time and become even stronger than we were before.”

By Keith Lawrence Messenger-Inquirer