Paducah Bank purchases historic tax credits for Columbia Theatre effort

Paducah Bank employees stand with members of the Columbia Art House Restoration Project board in front of the theatre in late April, as the local financial institution contributed more than $36,000 to the restoration effort for the purchase of historic preservation tax credits. Pictured are Melinda Winchester (front from left), Joe Framptom, Mardie Herndon and Darlene Mazzone with Jeff Canter (back from left), Chris Hutson, Juliette Grumley, Susan Guess, Hal Sullivan, John Durbin and Jordan Ludovissie.

The Paducah Bank joined forces with the Columbia Art House Restoration Project in late April, purchasing $36,273.31 in historic preservation tax credits for the iconic downtown theater.

The Kentucky Historic Preservation Tax Credit program is administered by the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), an agency of the Kentucky Tourism Arts and Heritage Cabinet, to identify, preserve and protect historic resources around the state.

“Its mission is to partner with Kentuckians to strengthen preservation networks so that our historic places are valued, protected, and used to enhance the quality and economy of communities like Paducah,” said Darlene Mazzone, chairwoman of the Columbia Art House Restoration Project board. “We are so grateful for this public/private partnership. This allows Paducah Bank to take advantage of this opportunity and it provides much-needed funding for our Columbia restoration project.

“Consequently, both entities gain a financial advantage all the while taking steps forward to preserve this masterpiece in our midst.”

Melinda Winchester, a member of the Columbia board and a Relationship Manager for Paducah Bank, helped to create the application and connect the two entities.

“Paducah Bank has been a foundational part of this community since 1948,” said Paducah Bank CEO Joe Framptom. “In every facet of our lives here for 73 years, the leadership of this community bank has chosen to look beyond the activities of our daily operations to see how we can facilitate the future of the place we call home.”

The project is “a classic case for historic tax credits,” Winchester said in a news release. “The use of historic tax credits encourages the adaptive reuse of historic buildings in all contexts and also supports the idea of these types of projects being a key part of a community’s public policies.”

The effort to restore the theater, which was built in 1927 and has been closed since 1987, has received several local, state and national grants since becoming one of the signature missions of Paducah’s Main Street nearly nine years ago. For more information on the theater and this restoration effort, visit

“Our current goal is to simply save the building and then take steps to develop its potential as a viable operation in the future,” Mazzone added. “It would be a complete travesty to lose this magnificent structure in the heart of our historic district.”

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