Contract negotiations continue with board’s pick to manage convention center

PADUCAH — A deal that’s best for the city: That’s what the Paducah Convention Center Board says it’s trying to get with management company VenuWorks. The board recently chose VenuWorks to be the third party manager of the center.

The board met with the company to discuss the contract Thursday.

The hallways of the Paducah Convention Center were packed Thursday with people attending Fall AQS QuiltWeek. That’s an image many people hope to see more often with VenuWorks taking over management of the convention center soon.

“We’re anxious to have them on board and have them grow this facility,” Quilt Show Director Bonnie Browning says.

Browning says even though she preferred Spectra over VenuWorks, she is excited to see what the company can do to help QuiltWeek and bring in other events.

“We’re looking forward to working with the new company, and you know maybe we can grow our show, too,” Browning says.

Having a third party manager doesn’t always necessarily mean more money is made. A report from a VenuWorks location in Minnesota shows that in 2016 it had a deficit of more than $32,000.

“We want to be as careful as we can be not to have any operational losses, because convention centers oftentimes do have losses,” Convention Center Board Chairman Brian Katz says.

Katz says one of the main things the board wants to put in the contract are items to help prevent the convention center from losing money. The board met Thursday to make some changes to the contract sent by VenuWorks. One of the changes they proposed is to shorten the contract to three years instead of five. Other changes included making sure the board has final say on who is hired as executive director and making VenuWorks present an annual budget to the board for approval.

“They will present a budget to the board for approval on an annual basis, and then there are reporting requirements monthly and quarterly to see how we are doing relative to that budget,” Katz says.

Katz says he hopes a contract  can be completed within 30 to 40 days.