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Paducah, McCracken County receive community feedback on comprehensive plan goals

Gary Mitchell, president of Kendig Keast Collaborative, presents information on the process to develop Paducah and McCracken County's joint comprehensive plan to a group of community members.
Hannah Saad
Gary Mitchell, president of Kendig Keast Collaborative, presents information on the process to develop Paducah and McCracken County's joint comprehensive plan to a group of community members.

Paducah and McCracken County community members shared some input at a community forum Tuesday on what they think the city and county should strive for in the next two decades.

The forum is part of a process for gathering input on the city and county’s joint comprehensive plan, which will outline what the two far western Kentucky governments’ general goals are for the area over the next 10-20 years.

McCracken County and Paducah have hired consulting firm Kendig Keast Collaborative to help develop the comprehensive plan. Gary Mitchell is the firm’s president.

“[The comprehensive plan] is kind of the big picture look at the community,” Mitchell said. “So we don't get into the details of every issue, but it's what are the key issues as you think about the next 10, 20 years of your city and county.”

Kentucky state statutes require local governments to adopt a comprehensive plan outlining their goals and objectives for the community at least once every five years. These plans must include elements such as plans for land use, transportation and community facilities. Comprehensive plans often include information on goals for items such as housing, economic development, conservation, energy use and historic preservation.

At Tuesday’s forum, attendees had the chance to sound off on what they think Paducah and McCracken County should be focusing on in the upcoming years. Some of the common sentiments people were advocating for include housing improvements, revitalizing historic buildings, keeping and adding green spaces and recreational areas and finding ways to retain and draw in younger generations to the area.

Currently, Paducah and McCracken County have separate comprehensive plans. In February, Paducah’s City Commission and the McCracken County Fiscal Court signed off on a 20-year agreement to establish a joint city/county comprehensive plan.

McCracken County Judge-Executive Craig Clymer and Paducah City Commissioner Sandra Wilson each said it would be beneficial for both the county and the city to work together and create one joint comprehensive plan for the community so the two groups can continue their partnership toward shared objectives.

Mitchell also thinks there are benefits to the two entities joining together to create a shared plan.

“This is a chance to have some efficiency by doing them together. But also just beyond that, just to be thinking from both city and county perspectives of common needs, common issues that they can work on together,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said over the next few months, Kendig Keast Collaborative will meet with shareholders across the community to discuss what people from different parts of Paducah and McCracken County value about their communities and what they want the governments to prioritize over the next 10 to 20 years. He hopes to present a completed joint comprehensive plan to the city commission and county fiscal court by next May.

Hannah Saad is the Assistant News Director for WKMS. Originally from Michigan, Hannah earned her bachelor’s degree in news media from The University of Alabama in 2021. Hannah moved to western Kentucky in the summer of 2021 to start the next chapter of her life after graduation. Prior to joining WKMS in March 2023, Hannah was a news reporter at The Paducah Sun. Her goal at WKMS is to share the stories of the region from those who call it home. Outside of work, Hannah enjoys exploring local restaurants, sports photography, painting, and spending time with her fiancé and two dogs.
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