New hotel buzz excites downtown businesses

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Reporter - Elizabeth Fields
Photographer - Mason Watkins
Web Editor - Amanda Roberts

UPDATE:

For a copy of the Paducah City Commission's proposal to enter into a hotel development agreement, click here.

Original Story:

PADUCAH - Paducah city leaders have been discussing a new hotel for months, but announced today they're closer to a deal than ever before.

This deal is different because the city commission will actually introduce the agreement at their meeting tomorrow. It was December 29th, 2012, when we first heard the announcement about a new downtown hotel. Former Mayor Bill Paxton called the deal "complicated and risky".

It's been nearly a year and a few new details have come out and it's still not a done deal, so some people are reserved in their reaction to the news.

Ever since Chelsea Rhodes started working at Shandies in downtown Paducah, she's heard talk of a new hotel. Something she says is a necessity to pull people and their business to the small businesses that rely on them.

"We got a lot of visitors, people from out of town, even during quilt week. Everything books up so quick, if there's a hotel there, that would be a little extra help for the town to bring more people in like that," Rhodes said.

If construction couldn't start for severalmonths, there's no way there will be a new hotel here for the annual Quilt Show. The show director told us they will manage through 2014 and hope it's really here in 2015.

Marilyn Cassity knows because her shop has been here for 15 years.

"We worked through several issues when we were trying to get something on the Executive Inn site," Cassity said.

She says growing pains are almost always worth it and was thrilled to hear city leaders didn't give up. But there are a few more steps before construction starts and some are just waiting for that to happen.

"It would be a little upsetting because everyone's talked so much about it. It has been so exciting and it's a good positive thing to happen to downtown Paducah."

In the proposal, the developers would agree to invest at least $17.5 million and pay the city $500,000 over 20 years. In turn, the city would agree to pay up to $900,000 for the walk way that would connection the new hotel to the convention center and not offer any other incentives for any other hospitality projects in the downtown area for two years.

A news conference will be held tomorrow afternoon with more information.
 

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