Downtown Paducah demolition project delayed, businesses fearful
The city of Paducah began tear-down work on 432 Broadway Street in August. City leaders now say it’s taking longer than they thought. They pushed the finish date back from this November to the end of February next year.
Because of the barricade around the buildings,the city is rerouting the Veteran’s day parade like they did for the Labor Day parade. The parade will start on 6th Street at Dolly McNutt Plaza, taking a left on Broadway, and then out to 17th Street.
City leaders say the delay with demolishing the barricaded buildings is due to the fact that they need to stabilize the building next door, which is 430 Broadway. The two buildings share a support beam.
While traffic can still flow down Broadway, business managers fear delaying this demolition will put them behind schedule for holiday shopping.
The chances to showcase downtown Paducah and their business are passing them by. Will Bell with Hooper’s Outdoor Center in Paducah says it’s their busy season, and any missed opportunity or rerouted parade hurts their business.
"It’s only one block over, but that one block over puts all the people right by the parking lot. So, as soon as the parade’s over they’re in their cars and gone," says Bell.
Even though the parade is rerouted, the one lane is still open to traffic to travel downtown.
Steve Ervin, Paducah’s director of planning, says the city made the decision to stabilize the building that will remain standing for safety. He says they still see how important it is to speed the demolition along, but the last thing they want is for one of the historical downtown buildings to come down.
"We’re hoping to get a contractor on site quickly to get moving again with the demolition; we certainly apologize for any inconveniences, but this is something we feel needs to happen," says Ervin.
Hooper’s says, looking forward, they’re worried for what this could mean for the big Christmas parade and their profits.
"Diverting the Christmas parade, yeah. We don’t like that idea," Bell says.
As for what will happen to the bricks when 432 is demolished, the city says they are working with engineers to re-purpose the bricks to rebuild the side of 430’s wall.
Paducah Parks director says they haven’t and won’t make a decision about the Christmas parade until late November.
The entire demolition project costs more than $600,000. The city is applying for a $500,000 grant to help offset those costs.