To view the entire meeting, visit https://youtu.be/z3xGNO0DJBk.
Former City Commissioner Zana Renfro
Mayor George Bray was saddened to hear that former City and County Commissioner Zana Renfro recently passed away. Mayor Bray called Renfro “a true local patriot” for her service to the community. Renfro served as City Commissioner in the 1990s.
City Block Project Update
Weyland Ventures CEO Mariah Gratz updated the Paducah Board of Commissioners on the City Block project and showed the latest site plan and concept images. The project is bounded by Broadway, Water Street, North 2nd, and Jefferson Street. The first phase for this transformative project for downtown Paducah involves the construction of an 81-room boutique hotel along Jefferson Street and public parking, greenspace, and facility improvements in the center of the block. The hotel will include two restaurants and retail space on the first floor with a rooftop bar. Weyland is in conversations with local restauranteurs. A future 70-unit residential unit which includes some retail space is planned for the side of the block along Broadway. Weyland’s goal is to minimize holiday shopping disruption for downtown and plans to break ground on the construction in January. Hotel construction will take approximately 14 months with an opening expected in spring 2024.
Property Tax Levy – Lower for Fiscal Year 2023
The Paducah Board of Commissioners introduced an ordinance setting the real estate and personal property tax rates for fiscal year 2023. A property tax levy public hearing was held prior to the ordinance introduction. The City’s real estate tax levy is proposed to be 26.5 cents per $100 assessed value, slightly LESS than last year’s rate of 27.1 cents.
The City’s Compensating Rate, the rate that would keep the revenue at the same amount as last year, is 25.5 cents per $100 assessed value. Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) permits a city to adjust the rate upward by not more than 4 percent of the compensating rate. Since the City’s proposed tax levy of 26.5 cents is 4 percent greater than the compensating rate, a public hearing was required.
Memorandum of Understanding with ViWinTech Windows & Doors
The Board approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ViWinTech Windows & Doors, Inc. for an economic development incentive, linked to the creation of new jobs, of up to $172,000 to assist with the demolition costs of the blighted property at 2301 Irvin Cobb Drive. Earlier this year, the owners of ViWinTech purchased the former Residential Care Center on Irvin Cobb Drive with plans to demolish the building and build a new facility to expand Paducah operations. ViWinTech is a significant employer in the Southside at its facility across the street at 2400 Irvin Cobb Drive. ViWinTech has received financial support from the Kentucky Economic Cabinet to expand its facility and employee base with an agreement to employ 40 new full-time employees by 2026.
Transfer of Property at 420 South 13th Street to Paducah School System
The Board approved a Municipal Order to transfer a portion of the City-owned property at 420 South 13th Street to the Paducah School System. This property, the current Midtown Golf Course, is adjacent to the soccer field owned and maintained by the school district. The district approached the City requesting a donation of a portion of the property to develop additional athletic fields and parking. The development of this site will include a youth soccer field, a practice field for the high school program, and parking.
City of Paducah Grants Administrator Hope Reasons provided an update of the current grant applications. During the fourth quarter of Fiscal Year 2022, which was April through June, eight grant applications were submitted requesting more than $1,060,000. During that same time, six grants were awarded totaling $575,500. Looking at the past year, the City has requested nearly $2 million in grant funding with nearly $900,000 awarded so far. Grants that the City has received and are in the administration stage total nearly $18 million which include the BUILD and ARPA grants.
The Board also approved the following municipal orders related to grants:
- Approval of the 2023 Litter Abatement Grant application through the Kentucky Division of Waste Management.
- Approval of the U.S. Department of Transportation Safe Streets and Roads for All Grant application. The City in partnership with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Paducah School System is applying for $17 million that would be used to redesign and improve the vehicular and pedestrian safety of the Buckner Lane/Broadway and Lone Oak Rd/Labelle Avenue intersection with improvements to 32nd street and Buckner Lane to better accommodate traffic flow. This is the area near the Coke Plant. KYTC District 1 Chief Engineer Kyle Poat said the area has had more than 100 crashes in the past ten years.
- Approval to accept the FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant in the amount of $237,272.72 with the funds to be used for bailout kits for firefighters and exhaust systems for each of the City’s five fire stations.
West Kentucky Regional Job Fair Summary
Business Services Liaison Mary Anne Medlock with the West Kentucky Workforce Board updated the Commission on the success of the August 23 West Kentucky Regional Job Fair. The City of Paducah was one of the Fair’s sponsors and participants. Medlock said this was the largest fair she has coordinated regarding the number of participating employers. Approximately 400 job seekers attended the Fair that had 106 employers and service agencies represented. Of the employers, 90 percent said that the Fair helped them network with potential employees. Plus, 38 percent of the employers conducted interviews that day.
Boards and Commissions:
- Approval of the reappointment of Jeff Holland to the Paducah-McCracken County Riverport Authority Board.
- Approval of the appointment of Brian Shemwell, Jessica Rumsey, Whitney Ravellette Wallace, and Craig Newbern to the Paducah Main Street Board.
Additional Meeting Information
- Mayor Bray presented to Michelle Batcher and members of the Paducah Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, a proclamation proclaiming the week of September 17-23 as Constitution Week. September 17 marks the 235th anniversary of the drafting of the Constitution of the United States by the Constitutional Convention.
- Mayor Bray proclaimed September as City Government Month. Mayor Bray invites elementary students to share what they find to be beautiful in Paducah or how they will help make their community beautiful.
- Municipal Order approved for the declaration and sale of city-owned surplus property at 1223 Salem Avenue.
- Municipal Order approved to initiate a request for proposals (RFP) for services related to the development of a joint City-County Comprehensive Plan.
- Ordinance approved to close an alley north of George Street between South 3rd Street and South 4th Street; the closure of an alley south of Husband Street between South 3rd and South 4th streets, and a portion of the east side of South 4th Street. These closures are requested by the adjacent property owners.