Funding for Riverfront Redevelopment Project
The Mayor and Commissioners approved a municipal order to transfer $265,000 from the General Fund Reserve to the Riverfront Redevelopment Project account to cover additional work required to install the steel piles or guide structures that will be used to support a future gangway. Commissioner Allan Rhodes voted against the municipal order and would like to use the City’s grant funds to finish the landmass into a park but not complete items such as a marina services building, gangway, and transient dock.
Prior to the vote, the City Commission held a called meeting at the riverfront so that City Engineer-Public Works Director Rick Murphy could explain the project and the need for additional funds. This phase of the riverfront project involves the construction of a large breakwater, also known as the bump-out or landmass, along Paducah’s riverfront. In late May, MAC Construction & Excavation, Inc. began installing the approximately 316,000 tons of stone fill into the Ohio River. Once the fill is in place, it will need to settle for nine to 12 months before further work can commence. The project also includes the installation of 12 guide structures/pilings to support a gangway that will be constructed in late 2014 or early 2015. The contractor informed the City on July 25 that due to soil conditions of the Ohio River riverbed, the guide structures need to be driven deeper, approximately 10 to 15 additional feet, into the riverbed. Murphy says, “If we don’t drive the pilings deeper, then our structure would be compromised in the future. It would sink over time.” Murphy adds, “Soil science is not a complete science. It’s an estimation.” The additional funding is for the additional labor that it will take to extend the length of the guide structures and drive them into the riverbed. The City hopes the final amount will be less than the $265,000 that is being transferred. The 36-inch diameter steel pilings will be three feet taller than the floodwall and will allow the gangway to rise and fall with the level of the Ohio River. The dock, gangway, marina services building, and park amenities will be constructed in the next phases of the project.
Currently, the contractor has started installing the first four guide structures/pilings and has offloaded approximately 150,000 tons of rock for the landmass. The landmass and pilings project in addition to the boat launch project under way at 6th and Burnett will be finished this fall. The Mayor and Commissioners Abraham, Gault, and Wilson voiced their support of the riverfront project as planned. Commissioner Abraham says, “Why are we developing the riverfront? It is to create activity downtown. The ripple effect could be quite substantial for downtown businesses.” Commissioner Wilson says, “We are a river city. I’ve always felt our riverfront is underdeveloped and underutilized. I’m excited about this project. I want to see our riverfront developed like other communities.”
Since 2008, the City has invested $1.26 million for the engineering design, legal fees, and mussel relocation costs. The majority of this phase of the riverfront project is funded by a $2.97 million Neighborhood Initiative Project Grant by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The grant funds are to be used on this project only. Proceeds from the June 4 auction of the city-owned property on Sheehan Bridge Road also will be used for this project. This first phase, including the additional estimated funds needed for the guide structures, totals approximately $4.75 million. For more information about the Riverfront Redevelopment Project, visit www.paducahky.gov.
After hearing from a citizen who wants the City’s dog ordinance enforced specifically the requirement for dogs to be muzzled at special events such as festivals, the Paducah Police Department will look at stepping up the enforcement and education about the requirement.