The Paducah Southside Association is making a last push to fund the painting of a mural promoting racial unity atop a water tower Saturday.
Initially proposed by McCracken County Judge-Executive Craig Clymer in April 2020, the design of two hands — one black, one white — clasped while surrounded by an American flag beside the words “United We Stand” will be painted on a water tower off Interstate 24 across from Arant Confederate Park in Reidland, where a Confederate flag flies alongside the highway. Paducah Water, the city-owned utility, operates the tower. The city commission approved the project in November 2020.
So far around $36,000 has been raised between individual donations and contributions from area groups and businesses. The Paducah Southside Association is hoping to raise the last $4,000 or so with a free concert at the Noble Park Amphitheater Saturday afternoon.
“(We) saw the vision and agreed there was a need to polish the perception of Paducah coming in on the Southside off the city at Exit 16,” said Pastor Clergy C T Shackleford, the group’s president. “Plus know it’s Judge-Exec Clymer’s baby and he always shows a special love for this city, how can you not help.
“The awesome part is that recording artists A Different Sound, the mayor, the judge-executive, Ms. Bryant, Bishop Dunbar, Shelby and Frank James, Toby Boone and so many jumped right to help!”
The concert will start at 1 p.m. Saturday at the park. It will feature live music from A Different Sound and “The Blues Man” Frank James as well as paid concessions to help raise money for the project. Clymer and Paducah Mayor George Bray will also speak at the event.
Clymer said he is excited to be working with Shackleford and his association.
“After this fundraiser on Saturday I’m confident we’ll have enough to cover what cost it is,” Clymer told The Sun. “I had envisioned all along that there’d be a broader response to the request for support. Now we’re going to invite the folks to come by and have a hot dog and give us a dollar or two and listen to some live music.
“People can come by and enjoy a little music and help their community at the same time. How are you going to do any better than that?”