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Paducah needs large investment for TIF district; mayor says hotel is the answer
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Courtesy: Leah Shields | Courtesy: Matt Mormann | News Source:

PADUCAH — The Paducah Convention and Visitors Bureau reports that in 2019 there are 36 hotels in Paducah and McCracken County. The bureau's occupancy rates data shows the hotels are not consistently full.

The data is collected from 29 hotels that reported to STR, Inc. On average for 2019 (from January to September), the hotels were about 58% full.

Here is the data by month:

Hotel occupancy

Month - Occupancy
January - 40.9%
February - 47.4%
March - 65.5%
April - 62.7%
May - 58.4%
June - 64.3%
July - 64%
August - 59.6%
September - 62.8%

The hotels are not at capacity. The CVB numbers show that, and so does the city's hotel project study Local 6 obtained this week. The city paid thousands for that study to recommend where a hotel would be a good fit in what's called the TIF district.

That's the tax increment financing district, which is in downtown Paducah and includes part of the riverfront. Paducah needs $20 million dollars in investments in the next four years, and the hotel would give the city a big chunk of that.


Local 6 asked Mayor Brandi Harless about the need for a hotel based on the data.

"Honestly I don't know if the city is in the place to decide if there is a need or not. What we've been doing is paving the way for possible development," Harless said. She said the 68-page study is just one group's opinion.

It's an opinion the city paid about $35,000 for.


Paducah Mayor Brandi Harless

"The study that we did, did not say overwhelmingly, 'Yes, you should put one,' but it also didn't say 'Don't,'" Harless said.

The study reports occupancy rates at Paducah hotels have been declining since 2015.

"I can't sit here and tell you that I'm an expert at assessing occupancy rates, because I'm not," Harless said. "That's just all there is to that fact. That's part of why we are in a preliminary agreement with Weyland Ventures. Part of their job is to go do that market analysis."

Because Harless is running for reelection, we asked the two other candidates running for mayor about the hotel study.

Mayoral candidate George Bray said he isn't for or against the project. "It's hard to glean a lot out of the study in terms of being a driver for a new hotel, so my initial reaction was I'd like to study it more, but it was inconclusive," Bray said.

Paducah City Commission member and mayoral candidate Richard Abraham sent a statement that reads, in part: "There are pros and cons throughout. Our job, as elected officials, are to take in all the information/options, and to the best of our ability, to choose what we perceive will address the most positive outcome."

Harless said she believes helping this project develop will encourage other developments.

The city will not pay for the hotel, but it has paid more than $100,000 for the development process and TIF-related requirements.
Download PDF September 2019 Paducah-McCracken county occupancy report

The Paducah Convention and Visitors Bureau reports that in 2019 there 36 hotels in Paducah and McCracken County. Their occupancy rates data shows that the hotels are not consistently full.

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