Sports Tourism Commission stays in holding pattern on complex

McCracken County Community Development Project Manager Steve Ervin leads a discussion during Wednesday’s meeting of the McCracken County Sports Tourism Commission. The group is on hold regarding the planning of the proposed sports complex as it awaits a decision from the City of Paducah and McCracken County regarding the project’s funding, which has been projected as being over $40 million.

The McCracken County Sports Tourism Commission maintained its holding pattern concerning the proposed sports complex during its Wednesday afternoon meeting.

Progress on the more than $40 million project has been stalled as talks between the Paducah City Commission and the McCracken County Fiscal Court continue regarding its funding — which McCracken County Judge-Executive Craig Clymer is hoping will be split 50-50.

“We’re on hold just waiting on that money piece to be figured out,” Sports Tourism Commission chair Jim Dudley said. “It’s just like everything else with this commission: busy, busy, busy and then pause for a little bit.”

Discussion during Tuesday evening’s meeting of the Paducah City Commission indicated that they were hesitant about committing to the sports complex project before there’s an agreement with the county regarding needed 911 infrastructure upgrades for the entities’ aging system.

“In order to decide — finally, the amount of money that we’re going to put into the sports park, is really kind of, from our standpoint, determined by where we go with 911,” Mayor George Bray said during Tuesday’s city commission meeting. “... Whether we want to be or not, we’re sort of locked at the hip a little bit, in terms of how we proceed.

“Because from my view, the city needs to understand what we’re going to do with 911, in order to make the commitment that we need to make on the sports park.”

In other commission happenings, the group discussed a presentation from Evan Eleff, a partner with Sports Facilities Companies, that they heard during a called meeting last week. This essentially provided the commission members with an overview of the types of pre-opening services that a management company could provide.

Dudley is hopeful that the city commission could come to an agreement by the end of the summer so that the sports complex can advance. Until then, he and the rest of the commission are going to continue preparing.

The next thing on the docket is the preparation of an RFP (a request for proposal) for a third-party management company in case that’s the way the commission, city and county decide to take it.

“All signs are pointing positive and we’re hearing the right things, so once that’s resolved we know we can move forward quickly,” Dudley said. “We’re putting all the pieces in place so that once that’s out of the way, we can get going.

“We want to go ahead and get everything we can in place so that we’ll be ready to go.”

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