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Board makes riverfront recommendations

BY CORIANNE EGANcegan@paducahsun.com

After more than four months of research and decision making, the Paducah City Commission will hear a recommendation on the Riverfront Development Project at its meeting next week.

The Paducah Riverfront Development Authority board voted Tuesday afternoon on an amended set of recommendations that alters the project to better fit the city's financial constraints. The project was about $2.5 million over budget when it was shut down last fall, and PRDA has been looking into solutions for the city since then. Tuesday, those decisions led to a lengthy consensus statement.

"It was a very thorough process," said City Commissioner Sandra Wilson, who also sits on the PRDA board. "We examined every aspect of the project. I am pleased with the recommendation we are making."

The project's originally scope included a large extension to Schultz Park at the riverfront, along with a long transient boat dock, complete with a full-service boaters convenience store and space for a privately built marina. In October, the project was shut down to allow the Schultz Park extension to settle. City commissioners asked to use that time to re-evaluate the project, as miscalculations and unforeseen costs had already skyrocketed.

The PRDA board decided to recommend the city put the rest of the project out to bid, but include alternative options on that bid that could be used to cut costs. For example, the bid would include the transient dock, but add an option to shorten it by 60 feet at an estimated savings of about $60,000. The board also would allow an alternative that would lessen the size of the park's stonewall revetment - the large, stone steps that lead down the bank into the river, connecting land and water for park goers - to save money. The bid document would also include a minimized fuel system, with an alternate plan of removing fuel options.

Two items - a $685,000 marina services building and its floating dock - were ruled out of the final project. Changes to the existing parking and access roads would be delayed and not included in the bid document.

The board reviewed the document at City Hall on Tuesday, making several changes and adding the option to keep fuel at the project site in the base bid.

PRDA board members also asked for the report to include their vested interest in the rest of the riverfront, most notably the former Executive Inn parking lot, which they will continue to study.

The board voted to give PRDA director Steve Doolittle and board chairman Bruce Brockenborough the authority to present the consensus statement to city commission. The workshop will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall's commission chambers.

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

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