Paducah, McCracken Leaders Agree To Move Ahead With Sports Facility Plan

Aug 26, 2019

Paducah City Commissioners and the McCracken County Fiscal Court celebrate their effort to develop recreational facilities by kicking soccer balls into a goal on the Courthouse lawn.
Credit Courtesy City of Paducah

The City of Paducah and McCracken County passed in a joint meeting on Monday an agreement that involves generating revenue for future sports facilities. 

Commissioners voted in favor of several related ordinances that creates a new county sports tourism commission, renames the convention and visitors bureau to be a city entity and increases hotel tax rates. 

The effort involves raising money through a hotel tax for an indoor recreation facility and youth league sports fields for tournaments. 

According to the city, the new McCracken County Sports Tourism Commission will pursue the long-term development, design, construction, operation, maintenance, sales and marketing of the sports facilities. 

Judge Executive Craig Clymer thanked Commissioner Eddie Jones for being the “brainchild” behind the project. He added that he thought the effort is a good example of city and county cooperation. 

Jones said the process ahead will involve taking advantage of the county’s geographical location. He acknowledged that the plan means a tax increase - but not one that affects local residents. “Very few people in McCracken County will pay this tax,” he said. “This is a tax on people who are traveling through our town. And our pledge to the sports commission, which is made up of three members from the hotel industry, is that we will pour this money back - by law - we will pour this money back into tourism.” 

The county room tax is: 3% for the McCracken Co. Tourism Commission, 2% for debt payments for the Carson Center and Convention Center and 1% for the Convention Center facility. The city room tax is: 3% for the Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau and 1% for the Paducah-McCracken County Convention Center facilities. 

Paducah Mayor Brandi Harless said, “This is definitely a new path for Paducah.” She said the community and its leaders have wanted sports tourism for a long time, but what was missing in the equation was funding. She thanked the hotel industry representatives on the sports tourism commission for their involvement. “This is the best example of community cooperation I think we’ve seen in a long time,” she said, echoing Judge-Executive Clymer. 

Harless predicted a “significant increase” in sports-related tourism in Paducah two years from now. 

Paducah City Commissioners meet Tuesday to review a contract with a company to design an indoor aquatic and recreation facility. The deadline for companies to submit qualifications to design baseball/softball and soccer fields is on Friday.