Indoor Recreation and Aquatic Center

Why Build an Indoor Recreation and Aquatic Center, A Wellness Center?

Strategic Plan WIN Initiative:  As an initiative of the City of Paducah’s Strategic Plan, the City of Paducah has identified the design, planning, and construction of an indoor aquatic and recreation center as a What is Important Now (WIN) initiative.

Parks and Recreation Master Plan:  Furthermore, the City has updated its Parks and Recreation Master Plan.  That process identified that the residents of the City of Paducah and McCracken County desire to have an indoor aquatic and recreation facility, a center with wellness amenities for all ages. The City is using the data as a guide to develop the programs and building design.  In a statistically-valid mailed survey, 71% of the respondents indicated there is a need for an indoor center with a walking track, cardio room, and pools as the top features.  We hear you!

Wellness:  Our community has a need for a facility dedicated to wellness.   The goal is to break the cycle of high obesity rates and poor health indicators in Paducah and McCracken County.  Kentucky has the 8th highest obesity rate in the country and the third highest obesity rate among children 10-17 years old.   Your health matters!

National Recreation and Parks Association Backing:

  • Living close to parks and other recreation facilities are consistently related to higher physical activity levels for both adults and youth.
  • Increasing access to recreation facilities is an essential strategy for preventing childhood obesity.
  • Adolescents with easy access to multiple recreation facilities were more physically active and less likely to be overweight or obese than adolescents without access to such facilities.

Economic Impact:  The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in partnership with the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps compiled information about why healthy communities matter to businesses.  Here's a summary.  The health of a community greatly affects its economic competitiveness.  Healthy communities attract and create a healthy workforce which attracts and retains businesses.  Investing in and supporting healthy communities can have a positive impact on businesses’ bottom line.  When businesses are located in healthy communities and/or if they are actively working to improve the community’s health, the characteristics associated with healthy communities can benefit their image and reputation. This can potentially lead to growth in their customer base and prospective pool of talented employees. We want to grow!

  • Healthier communities help to cultivate a healthy, more productive workforce fueling future economic growth.
  • Healthier communities are associated with higher rates of education which can benefit both workers and employers.
  • Healthier communities attract more talented employees and a healthier customer base which can strengthen their economies.

Facility Features and Location

NOTE:  This is preliminary.  The design process will determine the final elements.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

While the design of the upcoming indoor recreation and aquatic center has not been finalized, we have exciting information to pass along.  In this video produced by Innovations Branding House, hear directly from those involved about how Paducah’s future recreation facility will shape up in the next few years.  We have interviews with members of the Friends of the Park organization and the Paducah Parks and Recreation Department.

OurPaducah - Learn about the Indoor Recreation and Aquatic Center

Location: The new indoor aquatic and recreation center will be easily accessible to our residents within Bob Noble Park.  A highly visible location has been selected along Park Avenue adjacent to the Greenway Trail, Skatepark, basketball courts, and the existing Noble Park Pool. 

For those who will miss the ball fields in the proposed location, the ball fields at Stuart Nelson Park can be used.  Plus, the McCracken County Sports Tourism Commission is in the process of conducting site selection and design for new tournament worthy outdoor fields.

Amenities:  The concept for the features inside the facility includes

  • Tournament-Level Lap Pool (25 meters by 25 yards)
  • Warm water therapeutic pool with zero-depth entry
  • Two-story flume slide
  • Walking/jogging track area (9 laps will equal 1 mile)
  • Multi-use gymnasium
  • Two-story rock wall
  • Exercise machines
  • Rooms for classes and activities and a wet/dry classroom
  • Concession/Cafe area
  • Space for tenants, reception and seating area, and offices
  • Child watch area
  • Locker rooms

Building Size:  This ADA accessible facility is projected to be two stories with the walking/jogging track on the second floor providing overlook areas for the pool and multi-use court spaces.  It will be approximately 61,000 square feet. 

Hours and Membership Fees:  Please note that these have not been determined.  However, the City is considering hours of operation for this facility to be daily (including weekends) from approximately 5:30 a.m. until approximately 11 p.m.  There will be a small membership fee with the City looking to use scholarships to insure accessibility to those in need through the creation of a scholarship community donor program.

Studies and Documents

Feasibility Study:  Lose Design and its partners in this project completed in October 2019 the Aquatic and Community Center Feasibility Study. (Note:  This is a large document - nearly 69MB)

Pro Forma:  Sports Facilities Advisory (SFA) completed in October 2019 a Pro Forma for the Indoor Recreation and Aquatic Center.

For the residents of Paducah, I think it's just an amazing project that embraces wellness.  I refer to it as a legacy project.  It's going to be here 40 to 50 years from now and probably even longer with generations of Paducahans using it.   --Paducah City Manager Jim Arndt


Note:  Due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 situation, the process to design the facility has been paused until January 2021. 

At its August 11, 2020, meeting, the Paducah Board of Commissioners approved a Muncipal Order to continue the suspension of the agreement with Lose & Associates, Inc. regarding the design and construction management services for the Indoor Recreation and Aquatics Center until January 2021.  This continued pause includes amendments that direct the City Manager to continue due diligence related to the project including

---The creation of a conceptual build-out for prospective tenants.
---The creation of community focus groups for the project with an emphasis on inclusion and programming.
---Research on financial assistance and facility naming rights.
---Research on facility costs with an emphasis on understanding the impact of COVID-19 on the project Pro Forma.

The timeline below was in effect before the design pause.  It will be updated once a decision is made regarding the resuming of the design process.

  • (To be updated) Facility Design:  August 2019 through Fall 2020
  • (To be updated) Bidding Process for Facility:  Late 2020 or Early 2021
  • (To be updated) Facility Construction:  2021 through part of 2022
  • (To be updated) Open to Public:  2022

Actions and Engagement to Date 

Below are the Paducah Board of Commissioners actions and public engagement to date related to the Indoor Recreation and Aquatic Center and the Parks & Recreation Master Plan process.

1966:  Budget recommendation from Parks Department to construct indoor facility with an outdoor pool
1989:  Study completed with recommendation that City should construct a centralized parks and recreation facility accessible to the community
1999-2002:  Community group called The PARC (Purchase Area Recreation Center) completed a study recommending a $16 million complex for indoor recreation to include a gym, aquatics, and multi-use rooms.  They also suggested a $21 million facility which would include an ice rink.  The Pro Forma indicated the facility would operate in the black with a $64,000 annual profit.
2002:  Parks Master Plan completed with the top priority as a recreational facility that would include a gym and community center
October 9, 2018:  Approval of Professional Services Agreement for development of Parks & Recreation Master Plan
October 23, 2018:  Presentation of Engagement Initiatives for Parks Master Plan Process (included web survey, MIndMixer web engagement, and statistically-valid mailed survey)
January 5, 2019:  Paducah Board of Commissioners Strategic Planning Meeting – Indoor Recreation and Aquatic Center identified as a What’s Important Now Initiative
January 10, 2019:  Parks & Recreation Master Plan Steering Committee Meeting #1
January 31, 2019:  Public Workshop for Parks & Recreation Master Plan Development
March 11-13, 2019:  Meetings with 17 Stakeholder Groups for Parks & Recreation Master Plan
March 25, 2019:  Parks & Recreation Master Plan Steering Committee Meeting #2
April 9, 2019:  Public Input for Master Plan at Easter Egg Dash event
April 16, 2019:  Joint Meeting with McCracken County Fiscal Court to Discuss Sports and Recreation
May 20, 2019:  Parks & Recreation Master Plan Steering Committee Meeting #3
June 17, 2019:  Joint Meeting with McCracken County Fiscal Court to Discuss Sports and Recreation
June 20, 2019:  Issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for Companies Interested in Facility Design and Construction [Deadline to submit RFQ - July 17, 2019]
July 29, 2019:  Parks & Recreation Master Plan Steering Committee Meeting #4
August 26, 2019:  Joint meeting between the Paducah Board of Commissioners and the McCracken County Fiscal Court to discuss Sports and Recreation [Commission Meeting Highlights - August 26, 2019]
August 27, 2019: Approve Agreement with Lose Design for Design and Construction Management Services  [Commission Meeting Highlights - August 27, 2019]
September 4, 2019:  Kickoff Meeting with Lose Design, City staff, and partners
November 18, 2019:  Parks & Recreation Master Plan Steering Committee Meeting #5
November 26, 2019:  Approval of ordinances to issue an up to $22 million bond to construct and equip facility and to increase Insurance Premium Tax from 6 to 7%  [Commission Meeting Highlights - November 26, 2019]
December 17, 2019:  Joint Meeting with McCracken County Fiscal Court to Discuss Parks & Recreation Master Plan    [Commission Meeting Highlights - December 17, 2020]
January 7, 2020:  Selling of $20 million bonds for the facility with the City receiving 2.55% interest rate
January 7, 2020:  Issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for Companies to Provide Facility Operation and Management [Deadline to submit proposal is February 28, 2020] 
January 28, 2020:  Lose Design presentation at Paducah Board of Commissioners meeting with updated concepts [Commission Meeting Highlights - January 28, 2020] [Slide Presentation from January 28, 2020]
February 25, 2020:  Public Comments at Paducah Board of Commissioners meeting with Mayor Harless Slide Presentation  [Commission Meeting Highlights - February 25, 2020]
May 1, 2020:  Decision to pause the design contract with Lose & Associates for 88 days due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 situation.
August 11, 2020:  Decision to extend the design pause with Lose & Associates until January 2021 but allow for due diligence work to continue from the City Manager's Office.

Facility Outcomes

An indoor recreation and aquatic center can enhance the quality of life of a community by providing numerous research-supported benefits.

Stay Healthy Longer – Programs offered by an indoor recreation and aquatic center benefit the mind and body. Regular exercise can improve health by lowering blood pressure and heart disease rates, delaying the onset of diabetes, strengthening immune system, and increasing overall longevity.  According to the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA), children living near recreation centers were more physically active and less likely to be obese than children without access to recreation centers.

Reduce Stress – Exercise and the fellowship found at a recreation center can help community members become more resilient to stress, experience better mental health, and see a positive impact on happiness.  The Journal of Happiness Studies examined the results of 23 studies dating back to 1980. The studies included over 500,000 people found that there were correlations between happiness and exercise.

Improve Family Ties - Couples and families that play together tend to stay together.  Family ties are improved by spending leisure time with each other.  Research from the University of Cambridge indicates that for every minute of physical activity a mother engages in, she is modeling good health leading to her child more likely to perform that activity.

Protect Our Children - A critical benefit of community recreation centers is their impact on juvenile crime. According to a NRPA report, adolescents who don’t participate in afterschool activities are 27 percent more likely to be arrested.  According to a YMCA of USA study, teens who do not participate in after school programs are three times more likely to skip classes, experiment with drugs and alcohol, and be sexually active.

Increase Property Values - Recreation centers as part of a park system are a driver of property value increases. According to a report by the University of Washington, homes within a quarter mile of a park are 10 percent more valuable on average. Recreation centers and parks are often viewed as a symbol of community pride and active recreation centers are chock full of activities that enhance the lives of those living around them.

Keep Your Employees Alert and Around - Employers can realize the power of recreation centers through their role in the health and wellness of employees.  A variety of studies have indicated that employees who exercise regularly used almost half as many absences as employees who did not engage in physical activity.

Embrace Cultural Diversity – A recreation facility can increase the cohesiveness of a community.  Participating in group activities can help educate community members and highlight diversity.

Boost Your Students’ Performance - Recreation center programs can increase the likelihood of a student’s achievement by positive impacts on classroom behavior, test scores, and reading and math achievement.

Public Safety - Among the great of programs that offered at recreation centers throughout the country, ones that promote safety including CPR and first aid classes are among the most important. Many recreation centers offer swimming lessons for both children and adults at little cost along with classes on water safety. Additionally, recreation centers provide a meeting space for community members to discuss important issues such as crime prevention and disaster preparation.

Tourism - The sporting tournaments held at a recreation facility can bring revenue into the community as families enjoy the area’s restaurants, hotels, cultural attractions, and shopping.