The next generation is really why we're here today... The riverfront is the one common neighborhood for everyone in this area. The one neighborhood that everyone shares is the river, because afterall, that is how Paducah got here.
The great old river is replete with history of the United States of America. I want to help the community enhance the river experience so that this common neighborhood that everyone has will be a place to go and enjoy yourself for years and years to come.
-- U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (August 28, 2006 on Paducah's Riverfront)
Riverfront Ceremony November 2012
On November 2, 2012, a ceremony was held to kick off the Riverfront Redevelopment Project. Instead of a groundbreaking ceremony, the City held an infill ceremony with the tossing of colored sand to represent the building of a new land mass. The first step of the project is to build in 2013 an approximate 3-acre land mass into the Ohio River just downstream of the existing Schultz Park. The project had to be moved downstream due to a high concentration of mussels. The mussels in the new project area have been relocated. The land mass will need to settle for about a year before walkways and other amenities can be built. The project also includes the construction of a marina services building, 400 feet of transient dock, and a new boat launch facility (6th and Burnett Streets). A marina will be a future project, more than likely a public-private partnership. Speakers at the ceremony include Mayor Bill Paxton, Parks Services Director Mark Thompson, PRDA Board Member Joe Framptom, and Engineering-Public Works Director Rick Murphy. Photos from Ceremony >> Video of Ceremony (22 minutes) >>
Plan Introduction and Phase I Overview
In June 2005, City of Paducah planning staff encouraged the Paducah City Commission to consider developing a quality waterfront master plan to plan for future development on the river and to show federal delegates this community’s serious commitment to riverfront redevelopment as a means to increase local tourism and spur economic development. Following on the heals of the success of the Luther F. Carson Center, the Commission agreed and authorized staff to hire a consultant to help the City with a riverfront redevelopment master plan. By 2006, local elected officials were thanking Senator Mitch McConnell for $5.3 million of federal funds approved for the improvement of Paducah’s riverfront area. The City has secured additional funding as explained below and currently is working through the extensive permitting process. The original plan has changed due to the presence of mussels in the Ohio River and the consensus to shift part of Phase I of the project 500 feet downstream. However, many of the original concepts are still proposed. The original plan documents are available at the bottom of this page.
The Riverfront Redevelopment Project will take several phases to complete and currently only a portion of Phase I is funded. Phase I involves the expansion of Schultz Park by adding fill material into the Ohio River. The larger park will create a downstream harbor that will be the site of a marina. Please note that the marina is not funded in full at this time. Also, in Phase I is a 400-foot long transient dock that will be capable of being extended to 1200 feet in length in later phases. This transient dock will provide boats of all sizes a location to dock and enjoy downtown Paducah. A marina building that will offer convenience items and fuel also is included in Phase I. Click Transient Boat Dock, Marina Building, and Schultz Park for schematic drawings of the changes.
Construction of the project is tentatively scheduled to begin during the summer of 2013. Once initiated, one of the first steps will be the addition of fill material, approximately 230,000 cubic yards, to create the much larger Schultz Park. The fill will need to settle at least nine months before the next construction phase can begin. Bids were opened for the mass fill and the steel pipe pilings on April 4, 2013. Construction will be beginning in May 2013.
This initial phase also involves the construction of a new boat launch facility with a 100-space parking/trailering lot at 6th and Burnett just downstream of the Paducah Expo Center. The boat launch will be a five-lane boat ramp with a gangway/courtesy dock. The project also includes the construction of a paved boat launch access road consisting of improvements to Burnett Street from North 8th Street to North 6th Street over the floodwall to the new parking area and additional amenities consisting of landscaping and drainage improvements. The City of Paducah Engineering-Public Works Department held a bid opening for the Ohio River Boat Launch Project on March 26, 2013. Construction will be beginning in May 2013.
Future phases would address the area at the foot of Broadway. Before any changes would occur in that area, the Riverfront Plan would be revisited, the public would be involved in discussions, and the project would be updated.
- Advertisement for bids for Schultz Park mass fill project. Bid opening scheduled for April 4, 2013.
- Advertisement for bids for Ohio River Boat Launch project. Bid opening on March 26, 2013.
- Infill Ceremony held November 2, 2012 to kick off project.
- Relocation of mussels in October 2012.
- The Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) document was approved in July 2012 by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
- The Biological Opinion (BO) document from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on impacts to freshwater mussels at the boat launch and marina/transient dock locations was approved in June 2012.
- The Environmental Assessment (EA) document (see more information below) was approved in April 2012 by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Federal Highway Administration.
Environmental Assessment and Mussels
As part of the requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, Federal agencies must consider the impacts ot the ecological, social, and cultural environments. Since the Riverfront Redevelopment Project is being funded through state and federal grants, the environmental impacts must be documented in an Environmental Assessment (EA) or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). For the Riverfront Project, an Environmental Assessment was discussed at a public meeting in March 2010. At a minimum the EA must address the project purpose and need, analysis of alternatives, environmental impacts, and planning and public involvement. The EA, approved by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in April 2012, was presented at a public hearing held at City Hall on May 30, 2012. The public was able to provide comments through June 14, 2012 that were incorporated into Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI).
Notice of Public Hearing for May 30, 2012 >>
Public Comment Form (due June 14, 2012) >>
Video from May 30, 2012 Public Hearing for Riverfront Project >>
Slide Presentation >>
Environmental Assessment Document (Approved April 2012) >> Appendices >>
The Environmental Assessment document above is not the first one completed for this project. A document was completed in November 2009; however, a petition was filed by an organization against the project location due to the concentration of mussels, some of which could be endangered, found in the Ohio River. To satisfy the petitioner and limit the disturbance and mitigation of mussels, the project was moved 500 feet downstream. This necessitated the completion of a new EA document, the one approved in April 2012.
Planning and Public Outreach to Date
- Recommendation for project (2005)
- Meeting with U.S. Corps of Engineers (January 2006)
- Project scoping meetings with City staff, executive committee, stakeholders, and the public (March 2006)
- Bus tour of Chattanooga and Evansville riverfronts (March 2006)
- Public meeting to present riverfront opporutunities (May 2006)
- Submission of Preliminary Riverfront Plan (June 2006)
- Meetings with riverfront property owners (July 2006)
- Meetings with regulatory and river industries (August 2006)
- Check presentation by U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell at riverfront (August 2006)
- Revised Preliminary Riverfront Plan (September 2006)
- Adoption of Riverfront Redevelopment Plan by Paducah City Commission (April 2007)
- Public informational display installed at Schultz Park (May 2008)
- Meetings with various regulatory agencies (2006-present)
- Advertisement for Section 106 consulting parties (January 2010)
- Public meeting to discuss Environmental Assessment (March 2010)
- Public hearing for Environmental Assessment (May 2012)
Phase I of the Riverfront Project is estimated to cost approximately $17 million which includes the expansion of Schultz Park, construction of a marina services building and 400 feet of transient dock, the building of a boat launch at 6th and Burnett, and a marina. At this time, the City of Paducah has available $10.385 million in State and Federal grants. This includes the $5.3 million presented by U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell in 2006.
Note: FHWA stands for Federal Highway Administration. HUD stands for Housing and Urban Development. USFWS stands for U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. KDFWS stands for Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Service. BIG stands for Boating Infrastructure Grant. ISTEA stands for Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act.
|FHWA ISTEA Grant
||Ohio River Boat Launch
|FHWA Grant (source pending)
||Riverfront Phase I
||Riverfront Phase I
|USFWS - BIG Grant
||Riverfront Phase I
||Ohio River Boat Launch
|Estimated Phase I Project Cost
Original Riverfront Redevelopment Plan
The original Riverfront Redevelopment Plan was adopted by the Paducah Board of Commissioners in April 2007. Some sections of the original plan have since been revised. Most of the documents below are from the original plan. There are two documents from a revised Schultz Park plan from November 2007.
Click Riverfront Plan for a link to more information and drawings about original plan.
Riverfront Master Plan—Final Riverfront Redevelopment Plan Approved April 10, 2007 (40 MB)
Final Riverfront Redevelopment Plan - Approved April 10, 2007 (29.8 MB)
Final April 2007 Concept Plan Drawing (3.28 MB)
Foot of Broadway Design Concept (Steamboat Landing Park) (4.68 MB)
New Performance Stage Cross-Section (3.82 MB)
New River Overlook Cross-Section (3.77 MB)
Schultz Park Redevelopment Plan (November 2007) (3.84 MB)
Schultz Park Plan Drawing (November 2007) (491 KB)