Paducah leaders approve grant application for riverfront upgrades

PADUCAH, KY — The Paducah City Commission approved a federal grant application Tuesday evening to pay for major upgrades at Paducah’s riverfront.

That application will go to the Department of Transportation.

The project itself is called Riverfront to Riverport. Renderings show what could be in store if the funding is granted: Walkways, seating areas, more green space, an amphitheater, a beach, and swings.

The Port Authority is joining up with the city to apply for $25 million in federal money. $10.8 million would go to the Port Authority and the rest would go toward developing a vacant area where the former Executive Inn once was.

During the Tuesday’s commission meeting, Mayor Brandi Harless upped the original 10 percent city match in the application to 20 percent to make it more competitive against other communities’ applications. Harless says the match would be paid back through revenue generated by the development project.

“The good news is that most of the things in the project that are being presented are things that our community has been talking about for a really long time. So, from my perspective, this is us taking something across the finish line that we would not be able to do with local funds,” Harless says.

Loretta Sawnner was out at the riverfront Tuesday afternoon with her family. She says more development is needed in that area.

“It would build up Paducah and would bring more people, bring more business. It would bring more families. You need more families and family time. You need to come and see what it’s like down here,” Sawnner says.

Chuck Tate is a manager of the Holiday Inn hotel in Downtown Paducah. He says he believes the project would elevate the community from a quality of life standpoint and from an economic standpoint.

“It would be a great selling point for us and our city to be able to showcase what they’re proposing in those renderings. Having that green space, having that commons area, having walkways, trees, adding on to the transient boat dock, adding on a big river boat dock. People just want to be close to the river,” Tate says.

The deadline for the grant application is July 19. The city will find out later this year if it is awarded the money.

If funded, the city would need to begin construction by 2020. Project leaders say construction would conclude sometime in 2023.

For information on the project, click here.

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