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Convention Center gains new events

BY CORIANNE EGANcegan@paducahsun.com

Several of the many events that have been held at Harrah's Metropolis Event Center are migrating across the river to Paducah and the Julian M. Carroll Convention Center. 

The Convention Center Corporation board met Thursday afternoon and received positive news: Since Harrah's made the decision to close its Metropolis event center, the convention center has gained multiple bookings from former Harrah's customers. 

"Once the events center announced it was closing, a lot of the bigger, local fundraisers called us almost immediately," said Jeff Foreman, director of operations with the Carson Center. "Other events are also showing interest. But we don't have gambling like Harrah's, and we also don't have a hotel yet. We have a pretty great convention center, but that hotel will put us over the top."

The CCC, which is owned by the city and county, pays the Carson Center to run its daily operations. The Carson Center will likely retain that contract until the downtown hotel is built.

Foreman said that Lourdes' Mardi Gras fundraiser along with several holiday parties and association dinners have already booked dates. The group is in negotiations to host Dancing with Our Stars, one of the biggest fundraisers each year in McCracken County.

The Harrah's event center announced plans to close in March. The casino's riverboat gambling will be moved inside and take up that space.

In other business, board Vice Chairman Brian Katz noted that negotiations with Senate Hospitality, part of a group developing the downtown hotel, are progressing at a satisfactory pace. The hotel is expected to open by summer 2015.

The long-range planning committee, led by Tom Padgett, introduced some new marketing ideas to the group. They include a more active Facebook page, along with an interactive website that shows off more of the convention center. The board also discussed testing the waters with a new naming-rights package for the convention center.

Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652 or follow @CoriEgan on Twitter.

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