Paducah neighbors hoping the mayor’s neighborhood walks will bring improvements

PADUCAH- The mayor of Paducah wants to walk in your shoes and in your neighborhood. Mayor Brandi Harless is making stops all summer long to over 25 neighborhoods in Paducah with city commissioners.

“For me, getting out of City Hall and going into neighborhoods, my hope is that more people will feel comfortable expressing their views and engaging,” Harless said.

She is meeting people in their comfort zones to figure out what they need.  The walks have already happened in three neighborhoods including Midtown and the Wallace Park area.

John Colgan lives near Wallace Park. He says he loves where he lives overall, but would like to see a few changes.

“We don’t want people speeding up and down the roads and stuff like that,” Colgan said. “Especially being so close to Clark Elementary School. There’s kids walking and riding their bikes.”
It’s complaints like this the mayor hears often.
“I mean on Tremble Street you dream of having sidewalks, but that’s very cost prohibitive. That could be a million dollar project just to get sidewalks on that street because of how the drainage is done. The goal is to create a report for city employees to review and find ways in the budget to make improvements,” she said.

She says the key is finding the small solutions.

“One resident mentioned their wasn’t a speed bump on one road and that is very easy to put in place,” she said.

The mayor says she is going to neighborhoods with a open mind, but she knows certain areas need different attention like the South Side of Paducah.

Pastor Charles Dunbar is a member of the South Side community. He says the walking the streets will show her what’s missing.

“We had parks, we had activities, we had old Lincoln School, we had South Side school up there,” he said. “So it was a place of unity and commodore.”

All the areas with a star are places the mayor is going this summer.

Dunbar is a part of the South Side Community Alliance group with other pastors and stakeholders in the community. He says they have a list of tangible goals for the mayor. They include affordable housing, innovation programs, opportunity for creative revitalization, educational resources for adults and children, and a safe and wholesome environment.

The mayor says these walks will produce change.

“I really want people to understand this isn’t just about some political ploy come out and pretend like we are listening and not doing anything about it,” Harless said. “It’s very important to me and the commission that we hear what these people are saying and respond to that.”

They mayor says they have already looked at the upcoming fiscal year budget and added additional money for sidewalks in areas they’ve walked so far.

Dunbar said investing in a community is not only about the bottom line of a budget.

“There is an impact to see people that are really wanting to improve themselves and get an opportunity,” Dunbar said. “You say for a man to pull up by his own boot straps, but what if he doesn’t have boot to pull up on?”

Harless says she hopes she can solve some problems by the end of this summer and create a feedback loop with communities to show them the results.

Those who want to take part in the Uppertown/Jetton area walk on Monday, June 10th should meet up at Coleman Park. The walk will start at 6:00 p.m.
For more information on other upcoming neighborhood walks in Paducah, click here.