New options for next phase of Paducah Riverfront Development Project

Paducah City Commissioners need to pick one of four new options that will determine what our riverfront will look like next.  

The Paducah Riverfront Development Authority presented four options on how to finish a project overbid twice at a city commission meeting Tuesday night.

The city budgets about $5.1 million for improvements to the Schultz Park area, which would include building a gangway and 400 foot transient dock with fuel. It would also add lighting and steps toward the riverfront.

Bids for the project from two companies came in millions over budget in June and September.City Engineer Rick Murphy says they sent emails to 240 contracting agencies that had the qualifications do the work across the state the second time to find a lower bid.

"We only had two bids to open," Murphy said.

Commissioners can move forward with the entire project (option 1), fund improvements for just the park (option 2), build only the dock (option 3), or portions of both (option 4).

PRDA Chair Bruce Brockenborough recommends sticking to option 1.

“The park addition was always designed to be a breakwater, to allow for transient boating. So if you don’t have transient boating why are you doing the park?” Brockenborough said.

The lowest bidder offers the entire project at about $8.4 million dollars. After grants and current allotted funds the city would need an extra $3.3 million. Mayor Gayle Kaler is leaning toward option 1.

“A transient boat dock that’s going to bring people to Paducah, and we will also get the money to do the rest of it," Kaler said.

City Manager Jeff Pederson says they can possibly cover the extra $3.3 million for option 1 by relocating no-longer needed budgeted city funds for a showroom lounge that was planned for downtown’s new hotel.

Option 1 has the chance of going down to $2.9 million in extra city funds if the transient dock is reduced to 340 feet, a center railing is removed, and a wave attenuator is not installed. City leaders seem in favor of keeping the railing, but not adding a wave attenuator.

The other options range from $700,000 to about $2 million in extra funds. Options 2, 3, and 4 require a rebidding process, so the costs aren’t guaranteed and some lose grant funding.

Commissioner Alan Rhodes had hesitations for the project. He says Tennessee Valley Authority numbers show about 6,800 boaters pass through the area a year, a number he says isn’t enough to warrant a dock. He also thinks city funds should be saved to build on the old Executive Inn site.

The mayor says they will talk more about which option to stick with at their next meeting. The bids used in option 1 are valid until Nov. 6.

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