Indoor Recreation and Aquatic Center

Why Build an Indoor Recreation and Aquatic 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 all preliminary.  The design process is underway to determine elements.

The conceptual design is underway for the upcoming indoor recreation and aquatic center.  While it’s definitely still in the planning phase, 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 reviewing a Request for Qualifications for companies to conduct site selection and design for new tournament worthy outdoor fields.

Amenities (subject to change during the design process):  The initial concept for the features inside the facility includes

  • Pool (25 meters by 25 yards)
  • Warm water therapeutic pool
  • Water slide and flume area
  • Walking/jogging track area (current concept has a track that is nearly 400 meters)
  • Multi-use courts
  • Two-story rock wall
  • Fitness rooms for classes and exercise machines
  • Concession/Cafe area

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 60,000 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.

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


  • Facility Design:  August 2019 through Spring 2020
  • Bidding Process for Facility:  Spring 2020 – Summer 2020
  • Facility Construction:  Fall 2020 through end of 2021
  • Open to Public:  Christmas 2021 or Early 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.

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] 

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.