PADUCAH — The McCracken County Fiscal Court, the Paducah City Commission and the McCracken County Sports Tourism Commission signed an interlocal agreement for the outdoor sports complex project.
McCracken County Judge Executive Craig Clymer says the facility will highlight Paducah and McCracken County.
“It’s really going to mark our community as a go-to spot in the entire region in the southeast,” Clymer says. “They come for the travel ball tournaments and that sort of thing, not only for our local kids to play on but bringing that travel ball, that economic development from that.”
But, with the influx of travel ball comes the challenge of accommodating local athletes.
Paducah Mayor George Bray says there needs to be a balance when figuring out practices and games for players near and far.
“We are going to have to reserve local time for our local sports teams to play but the project, will not cash flow without the out-of-town traffic,” Bray says.
With more travel ball comes more tourism.
For the McCracken County Sports Tourism Commission, the goal is to put more heads in beds and ultimately draw people to the community.
“You’re going to see them shop at our stores, eat at our restaurants, yes, stay at the hotels, but what you’re going to see a lot of times is people go to these communities, they fall in love with these communities and they go back and they vacation there,” McCracken County Sports Tourism Chair Jim Dudley says.
Local athletes say they’re excited to utilize the facility. It’ll give them spaces for quality practice.
“The quality that you can get through a field like that is unmatched, and just play time is all it takes really,” student athlete Blain Oliver says. “You just need a bunch of playtime, and with more fields you get more playtime, and not having to travel as far to get that playtime is amazing.”
Leaders say it look longer than expected for the signing to take place.
They wanted to dot all their i’s and cross all their t’s. Essentially, they wanted to get every part of the agreement ready to go.
Commissioners also mentioned they hope the complex will help athletes hone in on their skills. They say that could possibly mean more college scholarships.