Park City’s historic Mentz Hotel could become a tourist destination, if the structure is renovated into a bed and breakfast.
City commissioners listened Tuesday night to Western Kentucky University and BRIMS representatives talk about how they would like to see the structure used.
“We are still in the exploring stage,” said Dr. Gordon Baylis with Western Kentucky University.
City commissioners listened to a report from Baylis and Paul Womble, president of the Barren River Imaginative Museum of Science, Tuesday night.
Baylis and Womble proposed to turn the historic hotel into a bed and breakfast that would also feature a cafe, a bike and hike shop and a gift shop/welcome center.
They estimate it will take around $430,000 to renovate the structure, and plan to explore forgivable loans and grants to help with the cost.
“We think it could be a very exciting destination in Park City,” Baylis said.
The historic hotel would also serve as a place where Western Kentucky University students could come and do internships.
Baylis told commissioners the project would probably require one of the partners to buy the historic hotel from the city “at a modest price,” which could also require bonding from the city.
“It’s starting to fall into place. We’re starting to hammer out hard numbers,” Baylis said.
The project would involve a phase roll-out with event facilities, such as photos and outdoor events, being the first services offered, followed by the cafe, according to a brochure presented to city commissioners.
BRIMS is not included in the initial plan, because they want to see if they can establish a revenue stream first, Womble said.
“We want to see what fits in there,” he said.
Baylis and Womble hope to speak to commissioners again about the project in either March or April to make a formal presentation on how it will work. They also plan to be able to identify key stakeholders at that time, as well.
Womble told commissioners he sees WKU serving in a management role of the project and that a local business would assume that role later on.
“I’m happy it’s moving,” said Mayor David Lyons.
Commissioner Leon Higginbotham said he, too, was pleased with their ideas.
“I’m looking forward to your numbers and seeing what we can do,” he said.
Lyons pointed out there were some grants the city can apply for, but if the city sells the historic hotel it can’t apply for the grants.
“I really don’t have a problem selling the building, as long as everything is moving in the right direction,” Lyons said.
He also said he thought the renovation of the building that will house a senior citizens center will compliment the historic hotel once the projects are complete. The facade of the senior center will look like a 1930-era building.
“I really appreciate what you are doing,” Lyons said.
Commissioner Vonn Parsley said he was excited to see the project move forward, as was commissioner Melody Ray, who said she was glad to see that the hotel would finally be used.
“I can’t stand to see it there doing nothing,” she said.
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