Paducah business owners, leaders weigh in on UNESCO

PADUCAH — Business owners in Paducah are not of one mind on whether Paducah’s designation as a UNESCO Creative City benefits them.

“All of the advertising that’s done by the visitors bureau is a help to every business down here,” says Sue Clark, who owns the Ice Cream Factory and D. Starnes Restaurant on Broadway Street.

Clark says being a part of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations Creative Cities Network has attracted more visitors to her businesses.

But not everyone agrees. Paducah Economic Development CEO Scott Darnell says the UNESCO Creative Cities Network only benefits a small portion of Paducah’s economy.

“It’s a microscopic view of the arts, and a lot of the arts have been home grown. There has been some relocation, but we don’t focus on a lot of art companies calling to relocate,” says Darnell.

Some downtown business owners who spoke with Local 6 say they think the UNESCO Creative Cities Network could do more to attract business to Paducah. Other business owners say it will just take time to see the benefits.

“You have to be patient with it, and you have to pursue it,” says local artist David Lucht.

Lucht says the main purpose of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network is to build confidence for local artists.

“Artists build on that confidence, and whether you use the word UNESCO or not, it builds the value of who Paducah is,” says Lucht.

But Darnell says, in the big picture, the arts are just one piece of Paducah as a whole.

“We have a good arts community, but it’s just one of the smaller sectors,” he says.

Related article: Is UNESCO membership worth the cost for Paducah?