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McConnell Announces $19M for Paducah Floodwall Upgrades

Nicole Erwin / WKMS

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced in Paducah on Wednesday more than $19 million for repairs and upgrades to the city's floodwall system. 

McConnell said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is directing the federal funding to work that includes replacing components in the pump stations. City Engineer and Public Works Director Rick Murphy has said the stations are a top priority

McConnell congratulated local officials on getting his attention. "My role in this was to get the projects and budget authorization cap, raised to allow the city and the Army Corps of Engineers to move forward and complete these vital repairs to the floodwall and the protection system," he said.

McConnell said the money has been appropriated and with his authorization the project is approved to move forward.  "I'm glad to be able to help and to be here today to celebrate our moving forward with this great flood protection project," he said.

Credit Nicole Erwin / WKMS
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced federal Paducah floodwall funding on Wednesday

The funding is part of a $32.5 million restoration effort involving a cost-sharing agreement with the city and USACE. The federal government covers 65% and Paducah’s portion is 35% or $11.4 million dollars - which could include cash and/or in-kind work.

USACE built the floodwall between 1939 and 1949. The city operates and maintains the structure and spans more than 12 miles. The floodwall is a combination of concrete wall and earthen levee. According to the USACE website, the city experienced a record flood in which the Ohio River reached a 55-foot flood stage. The floodwall prevented $1.2 billion in potential flood damage to areas including residences of more than 20,000 people.

Matt Markgraf joined the WKMS team as a student in January 2007. He's served in a variety of roles over the years: as News Director March 2016-September 2019 and previously as the New Media & Promotions Coordinator beginning in 2011. Prior to that, he was a graduate and undergraduate assistant. He is currently the host of the international music show Imported on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
Nicole Erwin is a Murray native and started working at WKMS during her time at Murray State University as a Psychology undergraduate student. Nicole left her job as a PTL dispatcher to join the newsroom after she was hired by former News Director Bryan Bartlett. Since, Nicole has completed a Masters in Sustainable Development from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia where she lived for 2 1/2 years.
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