Kentucky Plans Green Convention Center Near Audubon State Park

Local officials in Henderson, Ky., are seeking $5 million in state funds to build an environmentally friendly, LEED-certified convention center near Audubon State Park, reports local newspaper The Gleaner. The proposed 22,000-square-foot convention center, floor plans for which were recently submitted to the office of Gov. Steve Beshear, would showcase western Kentucky's ongoing commitment to sustainable energy while also taking advantage of President-elect Barack Obama's intentions to stimulate the economy with large-scale public works projects.

"If we can provide something that's connected with Audubon State Park, and if it were green, it would offer something unique to this area of the state," Rev. John Dunaway, a representative for Gov. Beshear, told The Gleaner.

If built, the proposed convention center would accommodate events for as many as 400 people inside multifunctional meeting spaces and would include a Sustainable Energy Activities Center, which would engage local industry in order to educate the public about sustainable energy practices.

According to Dunaway, the building would fill needs that are currently going unmet in Henderson, where existing public meeting spaces are too small for hosting regional conventions and conferences.

What's more, it would create much needed jobs in western Kentucky, according to Judge-executive Sandy Watkins, who along with Dunaway and state Sen. Dorsey Ridley is spearheading the convention center project. He cited President-elect Obama's economic stimulus plans, which he has said will likely include a New Deal-style public works program.

"We've made some initial contacts," Watkins told The Gleaner. "It's a project some of the Obama team are excited about. I think there are some people who are going to look at it, both in Washington and Frankfort."