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June 2012
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Time to accentuate our positives

By BILL FORD Community Columnist

I have been reading the excellent recent articles on the editorial page by local and regional citizens.

When Bob Hopper again submitted an article listing 10 great things about living in Paducah it made me think of many things we could do to implement that impressive list. I can think of what we can do to make our city even better to reach out to our locals as well as visitors.

First, we have the National Quilt Museum, which we can immortalize in our city by having a "Quilter's Walks of Fame." This we could implement like Los Angeles has done with stars in the walks, except we could install large quilt squares in our sidewalks to honor all the past winners of "Best of Show" with their names and year of winning.

After they are installed we could have a ceremony inviting all the winners back and have international TV coverage. Each year after that always unveil that year's Best of Show with the same international TV coverage.

This would cement the Quilt Show forever in our city because it is permanently in our earth. Why would a dedicated quilter ever think of another city hosting the annual Quilt Show?

A map would be printed with the locations of the squares and would create walking through downtown and Lower Town areas to find them. This would create traffic by restaurants and shops. This also would bring in visitors year round who could shop, dine and stay in our new downtown hotel.

I believe with the quilt square in our walks the friends and families will be coming here forever to visit these squares. Duplication of the squares could also be collectible items to sell throughout the year. Let's plan to do this and be bombarded with tourists.

Another thought I had was for the Katterjohn Building to be saved and used either as a hotel that could be named "The Katterjohn Arms" or it would be a great re-location for our city hall. Just demolish the existing city hall and put that property to better use visually.

In having developments extending farther out Broadway we could expand business locations such as the future reopening of the Columbia Theatre. All of this could bring more retail and restaurants extended down Broadway past 13th Street.

Many great suggestions were offered to our city from Jeff Speck on his recent walking tour. The parking meters he mentioned are certainly a great idea for future revenue.

I totally agree with his suggestions to make it easier for pedestrians and cyclists. There are also many bad turn lanes to the right that have arrows also pointing ahead, which is not a good thing. These lanes should be turn lanes only or not be there at all.

I also agree with his suggestions concerning the trees that are visually blocking the names of our downtown businesses.

A perfect example is the total blockage of the Maiden Alley marquee as you walk or drive from town to the river. Landscaping is important to our downtown and we just need the proper plantings to make it business and visitor friendly. Signage should never be hidden on a business front.

We could take advantage of our entrance from the Ohio River with a tastefully planned overhead sign lit on both sides between the flood gate's opening with the wording, "Welcome to the Port of Paducah." In fact, farther down we could have a bigger and taller more impressive well-lit Christmas tree each year. This suggestion is minor compared to my other observations and suggestions.

This is a glorious city, and I want it to begin annually to increase in population. We are sitting on a gold mine in western Kentucky. Let's begin striking gold now to make people think of this as the place to relocate and to visit on their vacations.

Bill Ford, an interior designer and graphic artist, has been a Paducah resident since 1989 and has a passion for the arts.

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