courthouse and city hall

PADUCAH — McCracken County and Paducah are drafting their inter-local agreements for the E-911 center and the outdoor sports complex project. Once those agreements are signed, the two projects can move forward.

The agreement for E-911 will be a memorandum of understanding, which essentially means the city and the county will agree to work together to improve E-911 as a good-faith gesture. The agreement for the sports complex will carry more weight. It would let the city and the county have an equal voice in decision making for the complex. Both agreements are still in draft form and will need to be approved in the two governing bodies’ respective meetings before they can be signed.

So what will it be like when the outdoor sports complex is officially open? Sports Tourism Commission Chair Jim Dudley is coaching the Paducah Lady Storms Softball team in Panama City Beach, Florida, and he said it’s going to be busy when they get the complex built.

“We started playing on Tuesday. We’ll play all week pretty much, and then there will be a champion on Saturday that will be crowned,” Dudley said.

He said the tournament in Florida is a prime example of what the McCracken County Complex could bring to the community, if on a smaller scale.

“It’ll be, you know, several, 50-plus teams. And again, I mean, each team’s got nine, 10 players and parents,” Dudley said. “That’s a lot of hotel rooms, and they’re here two to three days. That’s where that direct impact we talk about comes in.”

He thinks the complex will not only bring an economic impact, but will also allow kids from western Kentucky to meet youth sports teams from across the nation.

sports complex location

The outdoor sports complex is set to take over the old Bluegrass Downs site.

“They’re meeting people from all over the place. In today’s world of technology, there’s a good chance they’ll be able to keep up with them and become lifelong friends,” Dudley said.

As the agreement between Paducah and McCracken County becomes finalized, Dudley’s excited to get out of the design phase and into hosting tournaments.

“We do this all summer. We go to different complexes. When you come to something like this and you see the potential, you can’t help but to get excited about it,” Dudley said.

The sports tourism commission is finishing up the request for proposal process to allow a third party to manage the complex. The commission will meet next week to finalize the design agreement with the architects for the complex. The facility has been estimated to cost around $43 million. The city and the county have agreed to each front $12.5 million, and bond out the rest of the complex’s costs.