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Options on riverfront bids come together

BY CORIANNE EGANcegan@paducahsun.com

Lighting, landscaping, handrails and other expenses were topics Wednesday at the Paducah Riverfront Development Authority's meeting on the Riverfront Development Project.

The 90-minute meeting consisted of piecing together a bid document that could eliminate some higher priced items and give cheaper options for other amenities. Developing alternatives to the original plan are intended to help the PRDA board and the Paducah City Commission lessen a $2.5 million funding deficit estimated for the project.

PRDA decided to put in alternates for the material used on the 8,000-square-foot pier - a more expensive but more durable iron wood is in the plan now, and cheaper concrete tiles will be considered. The group also asked to add handrails for safety. As previously discussed, the bid will also include options without the $685,000 marina services building and with alternative fuel systems that would be less costly.

"Now it's a matter of picking the alternates that are priorities, putting them in order and producing a bid document," PRDA Chairman Bruce Brockenborough said. "We've tried not to sacrifice anything that a park visitor would want. Anything that is valuable to a Paducahan has stayed."

The entire Riverfront Development Project is meant as an extension to Schultz Park with added amenities for transient boaters. Because boating traffic cannot be accurately estimated, PRDA board members have chosen to focus on the project as a riverfront park. For that reason, they've made suggestions to eliminate several expensive boating amenities, such as a complex fueling system and the marina services building.

The plan moving forward is to use grant money meant for the Greenway Trail to build a trail head or a parking lot area that functions as Greenway Trail access and as parking for Schultz Park visitors.  Reallocating the money would help curb riverfront development costs for the same infrastructure. The city may also roll improvements to roads, gutters and curbs into its annual budget to help cut costs associated directly with the project.

The board has two more meetings scheduled this month and hopes to have a recommendation for the city commission by early April. The next meeting, slated for next Wednesday, will consist of a visit to Clarksville, Tenn., which has a similar project. After reviewing the Clarksville project, the board will reconvene to talk about other options and make decisions.

Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652 or follow @CoriEgan on Twitter.

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