The Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce’s D.C. Fly-In got off to a good start Monday, highlighted by a luncheon keynote address from former Paducah resident Brent Leggs.
Leggs is the executive director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, a campaign of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
He spoke about the $55,000 grant the local The Hotel Metropolitan has received from the organization to restore the hotel’s Purple Room.
“He’s raising a lot of money to help preserve African American sites, landmarks and historic places, and that (grant) is one that’s been given in our community,” said Sandra Wilson, chamber president.
“Beyond that he gave us ideas to consider, things like making sure we were honoring Stuart Nelson park and Hotel Metropolitan, and Oscar Cross and other namesakes in our community.”
Leggs also talked about the public and private commitment to protect Black cultural institutions and encouraged Paducah to launch a study of the city’s Black history to better preserve it, Wilson said.
Also on Monday’s agenda was a meeting with Winsome Lenfert, deputy associate administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.
“We wanted to especially thank her for her support of the new terminal project, and the Memphis Airport District Office, as well as Congressman (James) Comer and Sen. (Mitch) McConnell for all their help.” said Dennis Rouleau, Barkley Regional Airport executive director.
“She got a couple of standing ovations,” Rouleau said. “It was nice the whole chamber as a group appreciated her support ... she was kind of taken aback.”
The day’s events kicked off with a meeting with Tracy Zea, president and CEO of the Waterways Council Inc.
“It was very good for our community and our local leaders to hear what they’re doing. They are an advocacy group for the river industry, and lock-and-dam funding,” Wilson said.
“Their members are barge companies, shippers and the building trades and environmental groups as well.”
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