Numerous challenges throughout the winter have pushed back and canceled Paducah Riverfront Development Authority meetings, but the group plans to meet its self-imposed deadline for a decision on the future of the riverfront development project.
The group scheduled three meetings for March, although the board usually meets once a month. Those meetings might allow the PRDA board to reach a consensus on its plan for the riverfront project. Although the members have fine-tuned how they want the project to proceed, the upcoming meetings will include a trip to a similar project in Clarksville, Tenn., and will eventually yield a recommendation on the bump-out's future to the Paducah City Commission.
Wednesday's meeting was short by PRDA standards, and included the results of a $10,000 study the city sponsored to check the Schultz Park extension for any more settling and determine the amount of rock needed to get the land mass up to its targeted elevation. The city is estimated to be $2.5 million over budget with the project as of last fall, and a large part of that was the $800,000 in stone needed to lift the bump-out.
After a team of divers evaluated the mass and new calculations were made, the city now believes it's 67,500 tons short of making the park as high as it needs to be to withstand flooding. Rock can cost anywhere from $12 to $20 per ton, but conservative estimates of the cost fall around $810,000.
PRDA's most likely option will be to recommend a bid process that includes alternative options - smaller docks, lighter fuel systems, and options without several of the planned bells and whistles - and the option was discussed Wednesday. Board members have already discussed several aspects of the project they could break down or defund, but have not made any decisions.
Tentative meetings are scheduled for March 12 and March 26, along with a March 19 trip to Clarksville.
Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652 or follow @CoriEgan on Twitter.