PACRO money could help create local tourist attraction

MASSAC COUNTY, KY — An old, abandoned, building in Metropolis, Illinois, could become a tourist attraction that compliments Fort Massac State Park.

Metropolis Mayor Billy McDaniel tells us the Friends of Fort Massac have plans in place to build a pioneer village on a 7-acre property next to Illinois’ oldest state park.

PACRO, the Paducah Area Community Reuse Organization, helped make it possible. Wednesday, they opted to give the city $50,000 toward the project. The funds will go toward matching a grant to demolish the old factory.

PACRO was formed by the United State Department of Energy after the former Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Site closed. It aims to help Ballard, Graves, Marshall, and McCracken counties in Kentucky and Metropolis, as they suffered the most job loss from the closure.

Michael Cupley and Edward George spent Wednesday, May 16, 2018, riding their bikes through Fort Massac State Park.

Michael Cupley and Edward George spent Wednesday riding their bikes through Fort Massac State Park. While they enjoy most of the sights, the sight of the abandoned factory isn’t so great. “When I’m driving by that, I’m thinking people visiting our town, they see that. It’s one of the first things you see. Park, and then you’ve got that eyesore over there.”

McDaniel says he can’t say enough about PACRO’s leadership, their hard work, and efforts to clean up his town and turn the space into a boost in tourism. “It’s an eyesore coming into Metropolis. It’s an eyesore leaving Metropolis. The worst part about it, it is connected to one of the greatest tourism projects in the state of Illinois,” he said about the abandoned building.

It was left vacant more than 15 years ago, according to McDaniel. The only hope for development is demolition.

Without PACRO’s funds, McDaniel says the Friends of Fort Massac couldn’t have matched the grant, allowing the demolition.

Ballard County received 100,000 to fund its economic development authority, which started in January. It currently has zero operation funds.

Graves County received $120,000 for a jobs project.

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