Paducah Receives $10.4 Million BUILD Grant

Paducah, Ky., has received a $10.4 million transportation grant to redevelop its riverfront and expand its port.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), announced receipt of the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant November 6. Community leaders had said the grant was among the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce’s highest priorities during a fly-in to Washington, D.C., in September (WJ, October 28).

The expansion of the Paducah-McCracken County Riverport Authority would create a container transfer yard, Bill Miller, executive director, previously said.

“What we’re asking for in the BUILD grant is to develop an additional roughly 2½ acres of land, tear down some buildings we have and rework the ground we have, as well as installing additional fencing, lighting and a truck scale complex,” Miller told The Waterways Journal last month.

It would also add restrooms and a storm shelter.

The transfer yard would provide additional secure space for companies wishing to send shipping containers by barge to a coastal port.

Redevelopment of a river commons area, in a highly visited public area along the riverfront, would include an excursion pier and plaza, transient dock landing, four intersection improvements and a multi-use pathway. Sandra Wilson, the chamber of commerce’s executive director as well as a city commissioner, said the pier portion of the grant is designed to potentially extend the stays of the 35 individual river cruise ships and sightseeing vessels that visit the city each year, allowing Paducah to host overnight riverboat stays and become a port of call for embarkation and disembarkation. The grant application noted that moving the riverboat landing away from the foot of Broadway would also eliminate potential pedestrian and vehicle conflicts along the riverfront.

“The Paducah community continues to tap into its beautiful geography at the heart of our nation’s inland waterways network,” McConnell said in his announcement. “With this BUILD grant, Paducah can continue creating new opportunities for tourism, recreation and commerce along the riverfront in support of good jobs and economic growth. Making Paducah an economic leader in our Commonwealth and the region has long been a priority for me, and I have been proud to work with Mayor (Brandi) Harless, Judge (Craig) Clymer, and other city leaders to continue developing the riverfront and its vast potential. As Senate Majority Leader, I’m constantly looking for new opportunities for this wonderful region, and I was glad to help deliver this latest federal investment in Paducah’s bright future.”

U.S. Rep. James Comer thanked McConnell for his leadership on the project and called it an incredible opportunity for the continued development of Paducah.

“Paducah’s local leaders know best how valuable our inland waterways are to economic development in the region,” Comer said. “These community leaders have invested a tremendous amount of resources into the growth and innovation of river-related activities, constantly finding new ways to revitalize the riverfront and bring more opportunity to Paducah.”

In its application, the city committed $1.5 million in matching funds as available toward the riverfront infrastructure redevelopment.

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