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Riverfront plan gets city praise

BY CORIANNE EGAN cegan@paducahsun.com

City commissioners greeted a 16-page final report from the Paducah Riverfront Development Authority with open arms Tuesday evening.

The report ended PRDA's six month review of the Riverfront Development Project and allows for trims up to $1.75 million on the over-budget project. If the city accepts a final bid with all of PRDA's recommended deletions, modifications and alternatives, the expansion of Schultz Park and the addition of a transient dock could cost the city just over $481,000.

"Projects like this one, we think, are very important," PRDA Chairman Bruce Brockenborough said. "Someone could come in and build a second hotel because we have more tourism. Someone would take a chance on a restaurant or retail shop because we have more traffic."

PRDA was asked to review the project after Phase I went nearly $1.8 million over budget. The group began analyzing the construction project in November, and made significant cuts, including cutting the marina services building, which was estimated to cost $685,000. The board minimized the project's fueling system and added bid alternates - concrete blocks instead of ironwood, a smaller transient dock and smaller stone steps that lead to the river - that reduce the total cost.

The group estimates the total local dollars needed to get the Schultz Park extension and transient dock at $481,582. That includes a 10 percent contingency in case the project, once again, goes over budget. The total does not include the $320,000 the city would have to spend as a mandatory match to the $910,000 Boating Infrastructure Grant.

"You guys were the exact second set of eyes we needed," Commissioner Richard Abraham said. "You did exactly what we needed you to do. You made changes and gave us a recommendation we can justify."

The board's recommendations come with a price tag: at least $75,000 is needed to redesign the project before putting out a bid document.

The commission voted unanimously to send the recommendation report to the state agencies involved in the granting process for approval. Once that is finished, the project will be redesigned and bid out.

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

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