The Paducah Board of Commissioners approved a resolution authorizing Assistant Public Works Director Chris Yarber to execute documents as the City of Paducah applies for financial assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency related to the current flooding and the installation of the floodgates along the floodwall and the flood barriers around the Convention Centers.
City Engineer & Public Works Director Rick Murphy said the current stage on the Ohio River at Paducah is 52.79 feet which is down slightly from yesterday’s river stage which was near 53.3 feet; however, the river is expected to rise to 53.5 feet and hold there for a while. With the river at its current stage, the Convention Center complex is closed to business. However, the building is being protected by the HESCO flood barriers that were installed over the weekend. Murphy said that once the river begins to fall, the floodgates that affect the river industries and the Convention Center will be the first ones to be removed. The floodgates at other locations may remain installed for quite a while since this is the beginning of the spring flood season.
Since the construction of the floodwall, this is only the third time that the Ohio River has surpassed 53 feet. The river was above 53 feet in 1950 and 2011.
The Paducah Board of Commissioners approved an emergency ordinance for a contract with Danny Cope & Sons Excavating, LLC in the amount of $573,000 for the emergency demolition of the building at 318 Broadway also known as the Kresge Building.
The City purchased the building in October 2018 for less than $400 as part of a foreclosure process with the intent to raze the deteriorated building and advocate for future redevelopment. However, last Tuesday, several bricks fell from the building’s façade. The structural engineer from Gardner Engineering & Consulting who has been working on the demolition specifications confirmed that the building’s deterioration has accelerated due to recent rain and wind. He declared it a public safety threat and recommended emergency demolition.
The contractor began the demolition last Thursday. For safety reasons and to facilitate the process, one lane of Broadway and the sidewalk will be closed between 3rd and 4th Streets for the duration of the project which is expected to last at least a month. There will be periods of time that both lanes of Broadway between 3rd and 4th Streets will need to be closed.
The demolition process includes stabilizing the building’s front and back walls. Then, the interior walls will be detached from the adjacent buildings safely and without harming the neighboring structures. The building has not been occupied for more than two decades.
The Paducah Board of Commissioners approved a resolution in support of a partnership with McCracken County to pursue the creation of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District in the downtown riverfront area. The McCracken County Fiscal Court approved a similar resolution at its February 25 meeting.
Last week, both elected governmental bodies held a joint meeting and public hearing to discuss the creation a mixed-use TIF district authorized under KRS 154.30. Casey Bolton of Commonwealth Economics made a presentation at that meeting outlining the recent Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Impact Analysis that was completed.
The proposed TIF project would incorporate approximately 315 acres of downtown Paducah and the riverfront. The goal of a TIF district is to promote public and private development. A TIF district does not change the way property or businesses are taxed or how taxes are collected. The baseline revenue is first calculated on the applicable properties in the district. This is the amount of taxes currently collected. Then, once a TIF is created and public and private projects are implemented within the boundary of the TIF district, the tax revenue in excess of the baseline is reinvested in the district. It’s a way to capture taxes and reinvest the funds into the district to promote development. The taxes that can be used for reinvestment include state sales tax, property tax, individual income tax, and corporate tax in addition to local property and payroll taxes.
The next steps include the approval of an interlocal cooperation agreement between the two governments, the approval of a TIF ordinance, and the submittal of an application to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.
Barkley Regional Airport Manager Richard Roof provided the Paducah Board of Commissioners an annual update of airport activities and a copy of the airport audit. Roof said many projects are underway or in the planning stages including an update of the Airport Master Plan, the replacement of various lighting, and the clearing of trees in the approach area. On January 7, SkyWest began providing three flights per day during the weekdays to Chicago O’Hare. Roof said that Barkley Regional Airport provides $43 million per year in economic benefits to this area.
The Paducah Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance (by a 3 to 2 vote with Commissioner Richard Abraham and Commissioner Gerald Watkins voting against the ordinance) for a contract with Innovations Branding House for community engagement initiatives regarding the Strategic Plan including print materials, social media content, a website, and videos. After the initial launch of Our Paducah, Innovations Branding House will lead quarterly campaigns related to specific plan elements. The cost of the initial launch is $20,000 for the current fiscal year with a cost of $36,000 during the next fiscal year for the quarterly campaigns.