Reconsidering redevelopment plans for Paducah's riverfront


Reporter- Briana Conner
Photographer- Justin Jones

PADUCAH, Ky.— Paducah's riverfront redevelopment plan is on hold, and city leaders want to reevaluate entire idea. "We have a pile of rock. What can we do with it that will be most beneficial," asked Paducah Riverfront Development Authority Commissioner Joe Framptom.

The answers were few, but the questions kept coming Wednesday afternoon when the PRDA met to figure out what's left for phase one of the project as well as how much it could cost. The early estimates are staggering: more than 12 million dollars to finish the project according to the original specifications. Now that the project is on hold, commissioners said they might want to tweak the plan.

All of the commissioners agreed that they need to hire engineers to monitor the 300,000 tons of rock already in the river. That's estimated to cost about $10,000 dollars. A $135,000 dollar one-time fee for permitting, considering the wildlife in the river, is also a necessary expense. Outside of those two items, almost everything else about this project is on the negotiating table.

The original design features a park area, transient dock, and the infrastructure for a future marina. The PRDA secured a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for about a million dollars that would help pay for the original plan. If commissioners decide to go in another direction with the project, they could lose that money.

Losing out on funds is something Chairman Bruce Brockenborough said they're willing to consider if it would turn out to be a better bargain for citizens in the long run. "The question is, how much of the infrastructure do we build? How much value to the community does a marina bring as opposed to the park space that we focused on mostly today."

It's a new focus, fueled by finances, that shifts away from the original plan without taking away the options completely. "Just because we can't have it today doesn't mean we will eliminate it for the future," Brockenborough said.

They still need about 63,000 tons of rock to build the area up to the original specifications at an estimated 12 to 20 dollars per ton.  Brockenborough said they are between 1.8 and 2.3 million dollars short of financing the plan, meaning the city would have to take on debt to finish the project through all of the phases.

The PRDA will meet again on November 20th.