PADUCAH — One of Paducah’s key priorities this year is to partner with McCracken County on the proposed outdoor sports complex. Paducah City Commission members raised questions about the project during their meeting Tuesday. The current projections have the total cost of the project coming in at more than $40 million, with McCracken County asking for the city to be an equal partner in the project.
City leaders say they fully support the project, but there’s still uncertainty as to how much they’d be willing to put toward the complex. The city has $20 million in bond money to use on other city projects, following the cancellation of the aquatic center project.
Paducah Mayor George Bray said the city wants to divide that money up for multiple projects, like stormwater infrastructure, the outdoor sports complex and development of the Southside neighborhood. Bray explained what it would mean if the city used all of that bond money on the sports complex.
“For the city to be a full partner, other projects have to be, they would have to suffer,” Bray said.
Commissioners Sandra Wilson and Raynarldo Henderson raised concerns about the cost of changes at Stuart Nelson Park. It would mean looking at relocating the dog park and softball fields that currently sit in the city-owned park.
“The Stuart Nelson Park road, for example, that would be leading into there: Are those costs included in the $44 million? Or is that something that the city would have to bear on top of our half?” Wilson said.
“None of us have seen the plans. None of us knows anything about it,” Henderson said. “So how then can we just say, “Hey, give us half,” when we don’t have any idea as to what that half would look like?”
Commissioner Carol Gault emphasized other priorities that would impact people countywide and would also need proper funding.
“I think some of these things up here, 911 for instance, that certainly is related to the county,” Gault said. “That will affect county citizens, city citizens, looking at us all as a whole.”
The overarching message from the commission was support for the project, but a need to get more insight.
“I think it’s the biggest bang for our buck for the community,” Commissioner David Guess said. “We’re all for it. I think we probably need some education. I don’t want to lose, like all of us. It’s taxpayer money. We want to do what’s best.”
The McCracken County Sports Tourism Commission will meet on Wednesday to hear a presentation on management for the outdoor sports complex. City and county leaders are working to have a meeting to discuss the project early next week.