Groundbreaking held for planned riverfront hotel

A groundbreaking on Monday has businesses and city leaders hopeful for the future of Paducah’s downtown. It marks the start of demolition on the dome pavilion site to make room for a Holiday Inn.

Sounds of demolition fill the site where Paducah’s pavilion used to sit.

"That is music to my ears; that is music to my ears," Paducah City Commissioner Carol Gault said.

It’s a welcome sound to city leaders like Gault, who has been working for years to bring something to the site to draw more people downtown.

"We have a need here. There was a time when we had fishing tournaments, and we were bidding multiple conventions, and we have space to be able to do that," Gault said.

Just five blocks over on Broadway Street the noises are also significant for businesses like Hooper’s.

"Kind of cash register sound, absolutely. We won’t lie," Diane Ballegeer said.

Ballegeer has worked at Hooper’s off and on for 20 years. 

"We have some amazing people come through here, like even over the weekend we had people from California, New York, Miami," Ballegeer said.

A hotel, she says, would get these people to stay.

"They stay all night, they spend their money downtown. We like that," Ballegeer said.

Businesses and the project’s developers hope the hotel will fill a hole that’s been downtown too long. 

"It’s been a long time. It’s been a longtime coming," Gault said. 

The hotel will sit where the Executive Inn was.

The project is has been months in the making through a partnership between the city and the group LinGate Hospitality. Developers say it’s about $19 million they’re paying private equity and loan. Developers say construction could take 14 to 16 months.

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