O.K., I know we’re not a big city. But I’ve been reading about the Little Caesars Arena and “The District Detroit.” It’s a 50-block span of sports, entertainment, dining, business, and public parks. If you’re a hockey fan, you probably know that – upon completion – this will be the new home of the Red Wings. It’s a $1.2 billion development. Some have already dubbed it the “Pizzarena.”
According to Amy Eckert, the goal of the whole project is to create an “athletics nirvana.” Hmmm. Paducah. Hmmm.
I know that we don’t have the Tigers or the Lions around here, except for an occasional performance at Market House. But, Paducah’s got spunk! We also love eating out and strolling our own riverfront. We’re also very proud of our downtown, and we’re really enjoying our own Midtown renaissance. Good things are happening.
But here’s what struck me in my reading: Paducah loves sports! Despite our limitations of size, can we think outside the box? Ponder with me, downtown dreamers. Is there any way that we can bring sports into the downtown vision here? That would allow us to dramatically expand the horizons of our own city center. And, if we could get really creative about some mixed-use spaces like Detroit is doing, the sky could be the limit! I’m imagining creative tentacles into LowerTown. Picture this: a building that becomes an art gallery by day, and a large space for community theater rehearsals at night, and a “curb appeal” locale for an FBC “LovePaducah” event on Sunday. Imagine more hotel space, and a decisively “destination” feel, albeit with our own version of small-town Southern charm.
Lots of walkable area for sports fans, singles, families, athletes, and even those who would otherwise be couch potatoes. A vibrant setting for Paducah to connect at its core. And how cool would it be to add to our community all of the new jobs – and all of the people those jobs would represent – in order to make even some of this begin to happen?
For now, I have a sermon to finish. So I’ll leave the downtown dreamin’ behind for a while and get back to work. Maybe our friends Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau will dream with us.
But I’ll leave you with this compelling thought from the Lord: “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you … and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare (Jeremiah 29:7).”
God bless Paducah. #LandThatILove