PRDA getting some answers about Riverfront Project


Reporter - Elizabeth Fields
Photojournalist - Mason Watkins

PADUCAH - It was the unknowns about the Paducah Riverfront Project that caused City Commissioners to order an "orderly shut down" in October of 2013. Namely, the unknown amount of rock needed to finish building the bump out to the design level.

The City's original contract with MAC was for the installation of 316,550 tons of rock to create the base of a park adjacent to Schultz Park and the installation of 12 guide structures or pilings to support a future gangway.

The Paducah Riverfront Development Authority was given the task of taking a comprehensive look at the project. Their first order of business was to figure out how much rock it would actually take to finish the rock portion. The engineering firm Bacon, Farmer Workman along with Main Street Commercial Diving from Murray, Kentucky spent the past few weeks surveying the entire rock pile and came up with the total of 67,500 tons. That's what they told PRDA members would be needed to make sure the bump out was developed to design.

Pam Spencer, Paducah's Public Information Officer, told Local 6 the cost of that amount of rock is hard to calculate because the going rate of rock changes with the amount of rock purchased. The previous cost was $12 a ton.

PRDA Commissioner Meredith Schroeder said she was glad to hear an exact number, especially one that was so close to the 65,000 tons the city engineer estimated weeks ago. But she was also glad to hear there was a plan in place to make sure the amount of rock doesn't keep going up.

Engineers set up five monitoring points on the project and will survey the height of each once a month to measure the settling. Spencer said they will continue to do that until "they don't see any significant change for a couple of months".

Sandra Wilson, another PRDA Commissioner said having that number and a plan is a big piece of their puzzle. Now they'll have to figure out the costs of the rest of the park design, what to keep in and what to cut. Plus they'll have to have an idea how to bid out the jobs to get finished.

"Moving forward we're going to be looking at how we would do that as a total project or in different segments," she said. "What we can afford to do to finish a part or all of that project."

The PRDA members have scheduled a trip to Clarksville, Tennessee. The riverfront there is similar to Paducah's and members want to see if anything built there would work here. That trip is March 19.

The original plan was for the PRDA to present their recommendation to the City Commission by the end of March.  After the recommendation, city commissioners would vote on whether to proceed with the project or not.

The next PRDA meeting is scheduled for March 12 at 1:15 P.M. at City Hall.