‘Historic’ designation creates opportunities for Paducah City Hall

A place many of you pay your property taxes and apply for building permits is now officially considered a historic place.

Paducah City Hall was placed on the National Register of Historic Places last Thursday.

The 52-year-old building needs many repairs, including the roof and canopy. The new title will help pay for those projects while saving some city tax dollars.

Because of the historic distinction, the city can apply for tax credits. It needs $4.9 million for the first phase of improvements to city hall. Basically, a tax credit means the city will cover the up-front cost and be reimbursed by a business, such as a bank, that will then take the credit.

Paducah City Hall was built by architect Edward Durell Stone. It has seen five decades, countless city employees, and 11 mayors. Former Mayor Gerry Montgomery remembers when it was new. “Soon after the building was opened, all of the sudden there came this huge storm. It flooded the entire lower part of the building. Everybody began saying ‘Oh, we should have built it here,’” Montgomery recalls. 

It’s where she was inaugurated, twice. It was designed to be a place people could be proud of and gather around. Paducah Downtown Development Specialist Melinda Winchester says she hopes the new title brings new appreciation. “It’s a part of who we are. It’s our culture. It’s what made Paducah what it is today," she says. "I mean, we were a progressive city in 1962 when our administration started this process, and we’re still a progressive, creative city.”

Last year, the city was considering completely redoing the outside and inside of city hall. That price tag was estimated at $18 million. Now, the plan is to redo essentials including the roof, the canopy, the windows, and the heating and air system. That cost is $4.9 million.

Stone designed Paducah’s city hall in 1963. He also designed the John F. Kenny Center for the Performing Arts and Radio City Music Hall in New York City. 

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