LowerTown Art and Music Festival Update
LowerTown Art and Music Festival Co-Directors Michael and Victoria Terra provided the Mayor and Commissioners an overview of the success of this year’s festival held May 19-21. Michael Terra says, “This has been a pivotal year for the festival. The entire city stepped in, an incredible amount of participation.” Terra says approximately 200 people volunteered at the festival that had an attendance of about 16,000. They also thanked the City for its support, infrastructure, and technical assistance. Mayor Gayle Kaler says, “It takes people who are really stakeholders to make a festival successful. The festival is another layer of fun and culture we have in Paducah.”
LowerTown Artists’ Cultural Exchange with Innsbruck, Austria
LowerTown Artists Freda Fairchild, a printmaker, and Paul Lorenz, an abstract artist, recently visited Innsbruck, Austria as part of an artist-in-residence cultural exchange. They made a presentation to the Mayor and Commissioners about their trip and about the Paducah Arts Alliance (PAA). Fairchild and Lorenz in addition to ceramist John Hasegawa, ceramist/fiber artist Lily Liu, 2D multimedia artist Teri Moore (all of Paducah) and May Wong of Florida were invited to exhibit their work at the Imperial Palace at Innsbruck, Austria. As part of the program, the Paducah artists were required to conduct 20 hours of workshops for students at various schools in Innsbruck. Lorenz says, “Through cultural exchange, we break down stereotypes and learn about each other.” Lorenz also says that Paducah is a very interesting city to artists in other countries. Lorenz says, “This is a very exotic place to foreign artists. There is a mystery about the heartland.” Paducah’s cultural connection and exchange with Innsbruck is a result of Paducah’s Artist-in-Residence Program. Paul Lorenz met Elisabeth Melkonyan, fiber artist and curator at the Imperial Palace, at an international art event in Innsbruck in 2010 where Lorenz was exhibiting. Their meeting resulted in Melkonyan’s participation in Paducah Arts Alliance’s artist-in-residence program in 2011. Melkonyan was enthralled with Paducah during her residency and coordinated the artist exchange. Mayor Kaler praised the work of PAA and other art agencies. Mayor Kaler says, “It takes all the different layers to continue the arts program we started years ago in Paducah.”
Approval of Construction Line of Credit for Residential Structures for Artists and Residents
The Mayor and Commissioners approved a municipal order to utilize an existing line of credit with Banterra Bank for the construction of residential structures for artists and residents in LowerTown. In November 2012, the City approved a contract with Banterra Bank for a construction line of credit not to exceed $900,000. The Planning Department is proposing to utilize the line of credit to construct the first cottage at 717 Harrison Street. With the approval of this municipal order, staff will now solicit bids for the construction of the cottage. When the cottage is sold, the owner will pay back the borrowed money plus interest. The City will have limited liability since the applicant for the cottage will be required to secure financing from a qualified financial institution.
Community Development Block Grant for CenterPoint Recovery Center
The Mayor and Commissioners approved an ordinance accepting the $250,000 Community Development Block Grant award on behalf of Four Rivers Behavioral Health for the CenterPoint Recovery Center for Men. The funds would be used for salaries, and a $12,500 administration fee will be paid to the City for maintaining and monitoring the funding. The grant does not require a local match. CenterPoint is a recovery center located on County Park Road for men who are recovering from substance abuse. Four Rivers Chief Operating Officer Patty Hughes says CenterPoint’s staff of 19 employees provided services for 235 men last year. The facility has a high success rate with 75% of the men reporting abstinence from drugs and alcohol one year after completing the program.
City of Paducah Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Budget (vote June 25)
The Mayor and Commissioners introduced an ordinance for the Fiscal Year 2014 City Budget. The City’s fiscal year begins July 1. A budget workshop was held May 28. The majority of the City’s budget is in the general fund, the City’s main operating fund. The general fund is $31.2 million. The four main sources of revenue for the General Fund are payroll tax, insurance premium tax, business license tax, and property tax. Mayor Kaler says, “The majority goes to our personnel, the boots on the ground, who keep our city safe and keep us moving.” The City operates its finances through several funds including the general fund, investment fund, police and fire pension fund, solid waste fund, fleet lease trust fund, and health insurance trust fund. Each department prepared their budgets for the upcoming fiscal year using prior year’s allocations; however, that proved to be increasingly challenging due to increasing costs outpacing the growth in revenue.
Consulting Services for Columbia Theater (vote June 25)
One of Paducah Renaissance Alliance’s (PRA) goals has been to restore the historic Columbia Theatre on Broadway. The City of Paducah has owned the Columbia Theatre for nearly 10 years. Mayor Kaler says, “It was gifted to us, and we have a responsibility for it.” The theatre was built in 1927. Currently, the City is working to restore the marquee lighting and the front entrance doors. Plus, a preliminary environmental assessment has been completed. PRA Board Member Randy Davis outlined all the work that has been donated by various community partners including Ray Black & Son and Crown Electric. He says that Columbia Club, the 501(c)(3) associated with PRA, is working to develop a mission statement, a frequently asked questions document, and a website in addition to updating the Columbia Theatre’s Facebook page. The next step is to develop a concept study that would include drawings of the existing facility, workshops with potential users and stakeholders to determine the intended uses for the theatre, the development of programs and planning concepts for the potential future uses of the facility along with cost estimates. The Mayor and Commissioners introduced an ordinance to engage Westlake, Reed, and Leskosky of Cleveland, Ohio to complete the concept study for the Columbia and allocate $33,000 for the plan and reimbursable expenses.
Floodwall Murals Maintenance (vote June 25)
The Mayor and Commissioners introduced an ordinance for a contract in the amount of $24,800 with artist Herb Roe associated with Robert Dafford Murals for maintenance on the floodwall murals. A local artist, Teresa Perry, has assisted Herb Roe for 8 years on 25 murals in Paducah. Perry has proposed maintenance work at a lower rate. Ro Morse who has served on the mural advisory committee and Parks Services Director Mark Thompson both spoke with Robert Dafford who says that Herb Roe is the artist that he authorizes to perform the maintenance work on the murals. The murals are copyrighted as Robert Dafford murals. The Mayor and Commissioners along with Ro Morse agree that talking with Roe and Dafford about a long-term plan to train someone locally to perform the maintenance work is something that should be pursued.