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City wants design for riverfront

BY CARRIE DILLARDcdillard@paducahsun.com

Looking to the future of the riverfront park and construction of the new convention center hotel, the city of Paducah is moving forward with plans for an area of six acres of unused space leftover by the demolition of the Executive Inn.

The land is a critical link among the hotel and convention center, the new riverfront park, Schultz Park and downtown, said Steve Doolittle, executive director of the Paducah Riverfront Development Authority.

Doolittle came before the Paducah City Commission Tuesday for approval to contract with RATIO Architects Inc. and Bacon Farmer Workman Engineering for a design plan that will allow visitors to easily move from the convention center to the downtown business district along the riverfront. Plans will need to consider both pedestrian and vehicular traffic as well as future expansions of the riverfront park.

"It's a big, expansive site with a lot of opportunity," Doolittle said.

"We'll want to capture as much business as possible and help visitors seamlessly move from the hotel and convention center to downtown where the restaurants, entertainment and shops are," Doolittle said in a previous interview.

Cost estimates for planning and design services are not to exceed $34,000. If approved by the commission on Sept. 16, the design plan should be ready in approximately six weeks.

The city is also looking to "TAP" into some grant money to complete the fifth phase of the Greenway Trail, adjacent to Schultz Park.

The deadline for Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funding is Sept. 30. Similar Kentucky Transportation Cabinet grants were used for other phases along the Greenway Trail, said Paducah Planning Director Steve Ervin, and a new cycle of funding has recently opened.

This phase of the trail is along the riverfront between Monroe and Madison streets to the entrance at North Water and Jefferson streets. Ervin said enhancements to the Jefferson Street entrance of Schultz Park would complement the ongoing expansion of the park, and ultimately, the connection between the hotel and downtown.

The total cost for Phase 5 is $526,000. Ervin is hoping for a $421,000 grant, which would require a $105,000 match from the city either in cash or in-kind services. Estimates include curbs and gutters, paving, sidewalks, landscaping, and lighting.

The city will vote to apply for the grant funding during the Sept. 16 meeting.

In other matters:

In a 2-2 vote, with Mayor Gayle Kaler and Commissioner Sandra Wilson voting no, a motion to increase the Police and Firefighter Pension Fund (PFPF) by 2 percent failed. A 2 percent increase would equal a $210,000 one-time payment by the city to the fund.

The plan was created in 1956 to provide retirement, disability, and death benefits for police and firefighters and their beneficiaries. The plan closed to new entrants in 1988, and today has 60 members.

Wilson explained her no vote was due to the fact that the fund had become insolvent in 2005, requiring the city to bond the unfunded liability, in addition to allocating $415,000 for the fund in this fiscal year's budget.

Because the city is in better shape financially this budget year, former fire chief Leon Dodge came before the commission in late July to ask for the increase on behalf of the pensioners.

Commissioner Richard Abraham, who along with Commissioner Carol Gault voted yes Tuesday, felt the increase was "a no-brainer."

"These are our people; these are our guys ... When we have the money we should do it," he said.

Commissioner Allan Rhodes was absent from this meeting. The ordinance failed to move forward without majority approval.

The commission approved a contract with the Carson Center in the amount of $80,240 for continuation of the "Class Act" series and a contract with the Paducah Symphony Orchestra in the amount of $22,855 for youth concerts. The monies are a part of the $155,000 allocated in this year's budget for the arts consortium, which includes the Carson Center, PSO and five other arts agencies.

Contact Carrie Dillard, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8657.

Comments made about this article - 1 Total

posted on: Wednesday, September 03, 2014 8:20 AM

Title: city grant

do we have all paperwork... I need to write letter to city with CA brochures

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