Sports tourism commission ‘gets ball rolling’ on new complex

Jim Dudley

The McCracken County Sports Tourism Commission unanimously approved a design contract for the first phase of its efforts to create a local athletics complex during a Wednesday meeting.

Paducah’s Peck Flannery Gream Warren Inc. (PFGW) was awarded the contract with three tasks in mind: research and analysis of the local athletics environment, including site selection; design; and the creation of a master plan for the project. For these services, the commission will pay up to $216,000.

“Obviously there’s a lot going on, but hopefully we can create something for the future and get some excitement going,” Jim Dudley, the commission chairman, told the Sun. “Sports fields for this area have been something everybody’s wanted for years, and we’re pretty excited to have a great team hopefully be able to put that in place.”

A timeline for Phase 1 of the project has not been decided, and the estimated date of completion for the complex is unknown.

“We’re going to move as quick as we can while at the same time making sure that we’re being financially responsible and putting a great product out there,” the chairman explained. “Our goal is to make sure we put something here that’s going to be successful and something we can all hang our hat on.”

No firm plans for the project, in terms of what will go into the complex, have been decided, but the commission is likely leaning toward outdoor sports. Much of this first phase will be spent figuring that out.

The commission’s collaboration with the Paducah-McCracken County Convention & Expo Center is proceeding, and bids for portable hardwood courts that can be used for basketball and volleyball are expected later this week.

“We’re really hoping we get these courts in by the fall so that we can get some volleyball and basketball tournaments here and give us a boost in tourism that we don’t normally have at that time, especially coming after everything that’s happening now,” Dudley added. “We’re going to have to factor (the effects of COVID-19) in.

“There’s a lot of people depending on us to help this area out by creating more tourism and that’s our goal.”

In other sports commission news:

• Joshua Holmes joined the commission to fill the seat of Mike Burger, who resigned his post.

• Commission member Ashley Forcum confirmed the group’s current financial balance of $322,100.01. All of these funds come from transient room taxes paid on rooms rented in hotels, motels and Airbnbs within the county.

The next meeting of the McCracken County Sports Tourism Commission is expected to be April 29. To view the full video of the commission’s meeting, visit its YouTube page.

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