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Paducah riverfront redevelopment plans advance with $2 million contract ordinance

An artist's rendering of what the Paducah riverfront area could look like after the city finishes its BUILD grant project.
City of Paducah
Bacon Farmer Workman rendering
An artist's rendering of what the Paducah riverfront area could look like after the city finishes its BUILD grant project.

The Paducah City Commission took its next steps towards a revamped downtown riverfront area Tuesday evening.

An ordinance introduced during a commission meeting is expected to approve Mayor George Bray to sign a $2,039,500 contract for professional services with HDR, Inc. to move forward on an excursion landing plaza and riverboat dock, improved bike and pedestrian linkages and improvements near the transient dock.

City officials are hopeful this project can provide “improved transportation elements and increase the passenger experience for riverboat visitors who visit downtown Paducah,” a release noted. No opposition was voiced to the redevelopment efforts.

This contract will pay for engineering design, permitting, procurement, and construction oversight work on this project, which is mostly funded by a $10.4 million BUILD Grant provided by the Department of Transportation in late 2019. Some of the funds come from the city’s $1.5 million match for the grant, giving the total project a budget of $11.5 million, according to Paducah City Engineer Rick Murphy.

“This is an exciting night. It’s something we’ve been looking forward to for some time,” Murphy said. “We’re excited. We want to get it done.”

HDR project manager Shannon Provance spoke briefly during the meeting.

“We really are at a milestone to transform the riverfront in Paducah,” Provance said.

He said construction is expected to start on the project in summer 2023. Provance gave a brief overview of HDR’s tasks for the contract during the meeting – a series of 15 engineering and design steps with a proposed budget of $1,529,500 – ending with a construction inspection costing $10,000.

The project is, overall, expected to take three years. Provance is hopeful about meeting that timeline.

“There will be steps along the way that slow us down. We’ll find something we don’t like,” he said. “There’ll be something that’ll occur that’ll slow us down … but we think we’ve got some contingency built into that schedule.”

Paducah Mayor Pro Tem Sandra Wilson is excited about the amount of development going on downtown between this BUILD Grant project and the City Block progress, but she wants to reassure the public that these projects won’t clog up or shut down the area.

“We have a lot going on in our downtown area. We just have to make sure that we’re planning around all of it. I know that we have a lot of focus on that and we’ll be working on it,” she said. “We have great projects underway but we’re going to do everything we can to keep downtown busy and hopping all of the time.”

A native of western Kentucky, Operle earned his bachelor's degree in integrated strategic communications from the University of Kentucky in 2014. Operle spent five years working for Paxton Media/The Paducah Sun as a reporter and editor. In addition to his work in the news industry, Operle is a passionate movie lover and concertgoer.
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