Paducah leaders introduce TIF district ordinance to revitalize downtown riverfront

PADUCAH — The Paducah Board of Commissioners introduced an ordinance Tuesday night that would establish a tax increment financing district to help revitalize the downtown riverfront.

The city says the TIF district would consist of 315 acres along the riverfront and through the city’s main corridor down Broadway Street, with the goal of promoting public and private development in the area.

“We have the murals, we have the tourism activity, we have the restaurants, we have the retail. We just need to make sure we continue to have a live and thriving downtown,” said City Manager Jim Arndt.

When private or public developments happen within the TIF district, the tax revenue resulting from those projects would be reinvested into the district. The TIF dollars can be used to help with the developments — such as making infrastructure improvements like new roads, water and sewer lines, lighting and parking spaces. That would, in turn, encourage more people to develop.

“The Kresge project, you know, if we had the TIF in place and there was incentive money for the demolition, a developer could already use that project, use that money to redevelop that property, demo that property and build on site,” said Arndt.

This map shows the boundaries of the proposed TIF district.

The TIF district ordinance would also allow Mayor Brandi Harless “to enter into an Interlocal Cooperation Agreement and a Local Participation Agreement for 20 years with McCracken County,” the city says.

“We’re using county dollars, we’re using city dollars, and state dollars right here at home in the district to improve the district,” said Arndt.

According to analysis by Commonwealth Economics Partners, the riverfront TIF project is estimated to have a total cost of $156.4 million. But the full project is expected to facilitate more than $1.9 billion in total economic impact over 20 years.

“A great mechanism for our community, and I’m looking forward to us maybe doing more TIF districts in the future,” said Harless.

In two weeks, the board of commissioners will vote on the ordinance to establish the TIF district, said Arndt. If the ordinance is adopted, the city will  send an application for the project to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. It will then take up to a few  months for the state to decide whether to approve the TIF district. If the state gives the OK, the city of Paducah will have four years to reach $20 million in investments.

There would not be an increase in taxes.

Arndt said when he was previously the city administrator for Effingham, Illinois, there were four TIF districts there. He said they were a blessing to work with and really inspired growth.

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