RiverPark expects new executive director next month

Jeff Ebelhar

Jeff Ebelhar is chairman of the RiverPark Center's board of directors.

And since June 30, when Roxi Witt, the executive director, retired, he's been interim executive director too.

But by this time next month, Ebelhar told the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau this week, a new executive director should be on the job.

"We did a nationwide search," he said. "We're now doing telephone interviews with eight finalists. Any of the eight would be a good fit. Hopefully, by the end of September, we should have someone here on the ground."

In May, the board hired the Toronto firm of Genovese, Vanderhoof & Associates to conduct the search.

A January 2018 study recommended that a venue management company be hired to improve donor relations and attract bigger acts into the community.

By late that winter, the board had issued a request for proposals, and three companies responded.

Spectra, the company that manages the Owensboro Convention Center and Sportscenter, presented what officials then called the most viable of those three proposals -- partly because of its existing relationship with the city of Owensboro and its ability to attract high-level talent.

But once news of negotiations with Spectra leaked, employees, donors and several interested community partners staged a sit-in outside a January board meeting where a three-year contract was under consideration.

Board members narrowly voted it down.

So, Ebelhar appointed a committee to search for a replacement for Witt.

He told the CVB board that he appreciates the long-term strategic plan between the CVB and the RiverPark Center for assistance with marketing.

He said limitations on staffing at the performing arts center mean that it can use all the help it can get from the CVB.

Ebelhar said the center needs a last-minute push on sales for season tickets for its Broadway series.

"My goal is 600 season tickets," he said. "We've sold 524 so far. Our budget calls for 550. But my goal is 600."

Single-show tickets will go on sale in September, Ebelhar said.

The Broadway series lineup includes "Cirque Dreams Holidaze," "Finding Neverland," "Waitress" and "An American in Paris."

Subscribers can also add "DRUMLine Live Holiday Spectacular" to the season package.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

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