The Paducah-McCracken County Riverport Authority announced October 16 that it has received a federal grant of more than $418,000 to renovate and repurpose a warehouse.
The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) assistance program is providing $418,556. The port is providing $46,251 in matching funds, 10 percent of the project costs.
The DRA is funded by annual congressional appropriations as well as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).
Tim Cahill, the riverport’s executive director, said the funding will allow the transformation of a 1977 warehouse so that it can be used to house supersacks of minerals used in the metals and automotive industries. Companies that are part of those industries are doing well in the region, and the port has been a beneficiary of that growth.
“The river offers them a great value to transport these sacks by barge compared to truck and by rail from the coastal ports,” Cahill said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and contacted the DRA in support of the competitive federal grant application.
“Paducah has taken full advantage of its geography as the inland waterway capital of the country, and the riverport is a prime example of this region’s impressive growth and potential,” McConnell said. “This federal investment will facilitate greater interstate commerce throughout the region and pay dividends to the many businesses and families that call western Kentucky home. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law continues to deliver wins for the people of Kentucky, and I’m pleased to see these federal resources benefit this critical economic hub in the Commonwealth.”
The 19,600-square-foot warehouse dates to the port’s inception. The grant will pay for a new, 20-year roof system, replacement of wall panels, new insulation and energy efficient lighting, enhancing the port’s ability to service the growing regional supersack specialty mineral supply chain for existing and new manufacturing requirements.
According to the grant application, extending the life of the warehouse is designed to generate increased shipments into the international ocean gateway in New Orleans, thus expanding towboat and barge cargo shipments in conjunction with the utilization of the U.S. Marine Highway System via the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee rivers. Barging the materials will reduce public greenhouse gas emissions by saving thousands of gallons of diesel fuel as well as reducing roadway maintenance costs and congestion by reducing truckloads from the U.S. highway system, the application said.
Cahill said the grant is also helping the port to continue its program of revitalizing the riverport so that it remains successful well into the future.
“Our team is constantly taking steps to rebuild the riverport and position ourselves as the industry leader of western Kentucky,” he said. “Thanks to this federal grant, we can build on this vision and inject fresh resources into revitalizing the riverport’s critical infrastructure. We are thankful for Senator McConnell’s continued support in securing this much-needed investment, as well as the Purchase Area Development District and the rest of Kentucky’s delegation who played a part in making today possible.”
Caption for photo (click on image for full photo): A 46-year-old warehouse in the Port of Paducah will be renovated and repurposed with the help of a $418,000 Delta Regional Authority grant. (Photo courtesy of Paducah-McCracken County Riverport Authority)