Note: Due to the COVID-19 situation and the need to maintain social distancing, all members of the Paducah Board of Commissioners participated by video and/or audio conferencing.
The Paducah Board of Commissioners approved a municipal order (by a 4-1 vote with Commissioner Richard Abraham voting no) that was presented by Commissioner Gerald Watkins regarding the unity artwork for the Paducah Water tower located outside the Paducah city limits near exit 16 on Interstate-24. Commissioner Watkins said, “I think this sends a positive counter message to let the world know that passes by our doorstep every day that we are inclusive, and we are open. We are a loving community; we support each other. Our races have a great relationship, and everyone’s welcome.”
Over the past several weeks, the McCracken County Fiscal Court has been working with Paducah Water and the community on a design and an agreement for the artwork for the water tower which includes the words “United We Stand” with a flowing U.S. flag and clasped hands. The County and Paducah Water have requested approval of the artwork from the Paducah Board of Commissioners. Commissioner Abraham is concerned about flag etiquette since the artistic design shows the clasped hands in front of the flag. He requested that the clasped hands be moved below the flag.
McCracken County Judge Executive Craig Clymer spoke at the meeting explaining that this artwork on the tower will display a message of racial unity and patriotism. He also explained that this project is being funded by donations, not taxpayer dollars.
Paducah-McCracken County NAACP President J.W. Cleary said the artwork and message of unity is a win-win for the entire community. Mayor Brandi Harless asked the community to have a deep conversation about diversity and inclusion and do the hard and intentional work to improve Paducah and McCracken County.
The Paducah Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance for a professional services contract in the amount of $89,180 with BFW Engineering, Inc. for the South 25th Street Project. The South 25th Street project will redesign the roadway from U.S. 60 (Jackson Street) to Alabama Street. The project is funded in part by a $650,000 grant from Kentucky’s contingency funding. The Board also approved the $70,595 engineering design option for the South 24th Street Project.
The South 24th Street project will improve the roadway from 25th Street to South 28th Street. This summer, the City approved a contract with Jim Smith Contracting for the rehabilitation of the South 24th Street Bridge which was the first step in the road project. The bridge over Cross Creek not far from Brooks Stadium had received damage from flooding events. It received new bridge decking and was widened to accommodate ADA-compliant sidewalks on both sides of the bridge. The City of Paducah received funding for the bridge project through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Public Assistance Program based upon the Major Disaster Declaration from the flooding and severe weather events that occurred in 2018. The City also has purchased the property at 2640 South 24th Street adjacent to the bridge with plans to remove the structure on the property and grade the land to improve the area’s stormwater drainage, stormwater storage capability, and management. This area was identified as one of the project areas during the Stormwater Master Planning process.
The Paducah Board of Commissioners approved a tolling agreement between Jim Smith Contracting, JSC Terminal (doing business as Midwest Terminal), and the City of Paducah. This tolling agreement prevents the expiration until October 2025 of any statute of limitations on any claims by JSC against the City while the City pursues the dredging and remediation plan for the build-up of silt downstream of the Transient Dock. This silt deposit which has been enhanced by several years of flood events on the Ohio River is migrating downstream toward JSC’s pier and will likely interfere with the ability to use the pier for the offloading of an asphalt product from barges. Currently, the City is working with the Kentucky Division of Water, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency on the dredging/remediation plan which will require regulatory approval. This plan would not remove all of the silt but would determine a maintenance process that would address the silt deposit and keep it at a manageable size that does not interfere with the JSC pier or the Transient Boat Dock.