Castlen seeks new term on City Commission

Mayor Pro Tem Mark Castlen is seeking a third term on the Owensboro City Commission, on a platform of seeing through projects already underway or in the planning stages, while advocating for industrial development and helping expanded needed services.

Castlen, who was first elected in 2020, said he is proud of the work he has done so far, such as helping move a plan to address flooding in the neighborhoods around Shifley Park.

“Hopefully, that will be done by the end of next year,” Castlen said.

The city has made progress, such as by creating a police training academy exclusively for the Owensboro Police Department, Castlen said. Castlen said he was also proud of his work helping the Senior Community Center find a new location. The new center will be built near Thompson-Berry Park.

Castlen said, going forward, he would focus on bringing jobs to Owensboro.

“I would like to see more effort into recruiting more industries here, even if the city had to have its own industrial park,” Castlen said.

While other communities have landed new industries with the state’s help, “we haven’t gotten anything from Frankfort, and that’s disappointing to me,” he said.

“I plan to increase my visibility in Frankfort,” Castlen said, and that he would “let Frankfort know Owensboro is here (and) we want our piece of what we are paying in state taxes to come back to us.”

An industrial park is a possibility, Castlen said.

“We have a couple of places we can locate,” he said.

Castlen said he would also support the creation of a group for young entrepreneurs, and would like the city to have a business incubator, like the former Centre for Business and Research facility.

“I would like to see something to grow our local talent,” which would “get them on the path to starting their own businesses,” Castlen said.

Regarding homelessness, Castlen said the city and county could partner on their efforts, and that he would support having a designated area for the homeless where they could receive services, “over at the jail.”

“I look at it as a way to maintain the (homeless) population,” by having them in an area were they could be easily helped by social service agencies, and referred to substance abuse and mental health treatment, Castlen said.

Castlen said he would continue work upgrading city parks, and supports a planned 14 to 16-court pickleball facility in Ben Hawes Park. The city has pledged up to $1 million for that project.

City elected leaders have made good decisions, such as when they raised salaries for city workers. Those raises “helped (the city) retain police officers,” Castlen said.

“One thing I’m really proud of is (approving) pay raises for city employees,” he said. Public safety is always a priority for the commission, he said.

Castlen said: “I’m pretty optimistic. I like the way (commissioners) work together, and like the way we are getting the Sportsplex.”

The indoor sports complex will be open for local use during the week and will be booked for sports tournaments on weekends.

“We are financially sound,” Castlen said. “We watch and try to spend the money wisely.

“Overall, I think the city is very sound,” Castlen said. “I think we are moving in the right direction.”