Madam Mayor and City Commissioners,
Over the last few months, I have made it my goal to talk with, listen, and consider the opinions of Paducah citizens everywhere on the issues that are important to each of them. I have been literally inundated with negative sentiment on the proposed Aquatic Center. I personally walked knocking on doors, canvassing voters this past Saturday, and NOT ONE voter I reached was in favor of the Aquatic Center in its current form, it is all anyone wanted to talk about. This commission voted unanimously to approve an agreement for the design of the facility on August 27th, less than 6 months ago and now our community is deeply divided. I am supportive of the idea to postpone bidding on this project.
I am not in any way against a Wellness Center if it is planned more responsibly, in a businesslike manner and funded differently, specifically with a public/private partnership. At this moment, we are missing the most necessary ingredient for success, a more responsible plan for financing. Sound business practice dictates that we pause and do the difficult and time-consuming work, which includes allowing Friends of the Park to raise money not only for the endowment to offset the costs of operating the facility, but also for investment dollars up front from partners committed to see this project through. Let’s get some seed money in the bank before we take any bids for this project.
Once we agree on a go forward plan, it allows the process of raising money to take place in an environment that provides more stability and confidence for potential investors and partners of the project. It also allows the election process to take place so that the Mayor and city commissioners, whoever they may be, have time to sort through the next steps of this project.
While the Aquatic Center is all anyone is talking about, we need to get back to the job of running an open and transparent government and focusing on bringing good, better paying, permanent jobs to our community. I respectfully ask that you pause this project and take the important first steps in reuniting this great community we all live in and call home.