Inflatable pavilion faces uncertain future

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Reporter - Elizabeth Fields
Photojournalist - Mason Watkins

PADUCAH, Ky. - It's become a symbol of the season and the show that brings tens of thousands of quilters to Paducah. The American Quilter's Society annual quilt show has come to rely on the 38,000 square foot dome for vendors to set up ever since the Executive Inn closed.

Paducah's City Planner Jeff Pederson said the city is currently talking with a hotel developer to build a facility that would fill part of the hole the Executive Inn left behind. However, he admits it could be problematic for quilt show organizers.  

"The new hotel would not be expected to have the same square footage of exhibition space is being provided by the dome presently," he said. Pederson added he knows the need doesn't go away, but finding another spot for the pavilion would prove difficult, too. 

"Well, it takes a certain amount of space and is also takes the preparation of a concrete foundation for it," he said.

The current foundation cost around $800,000 to pour and unlike the tent portion, is non-refundable. If a new home for dome can't be decided on, the structure could be sold.

"Yeah we think there's value to it," Pederson said. "We think there's a market for it. We have not probed far enough to know what, how much, or when, but we expect to over the next several months."

Talks are still in the preliminary stages, but Pederson did admit that a time line would be tricky to make sure construction of a new hotel didn't interfere with the popular spring show.

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