Ports & Terminals

Potential Kentucky Port Sites Receive Grants

Two riverfront sites that are potential future port locations in western Kentucky have received grant funding to assist with further development.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced October 26 that more than $4.3 million has been approved to support job site development in eight counties as part of Kentucky Product Development Initiative (KPDI) grants. Grants awards for the project sites in McCracken and Ballard counties were included.

McCracken County Site

In McCracken County, a KPDI grant will provide $500,000 to extend sewers to the Ohio River Triple Rail site. The McCracken County Industrial Development Authority is investing more than $2.5 million in site upgrades.

Located at Mile 944, the 37.924-acre rural site is the same location that Greater Paducah Economic Development (GPED) has been marketing for the past few years. On February 28, McCracken County and its economic development partners applied for a $3.5 million federal Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant to allow the development of a new public riverport on a portion of the site but was not successful in securing those funds.

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Through its industrial development authority, GPED owns or has optioned about 800 acres of property, expandable to 1,000 acres, in west McCracken County. The site is 9 river miles west of the Paducah-McCracken County Riverport Authority, located in the downtown Paducah area at Tennessee River Mile 1.3-2.0, near where the Tennessee empties into the Ohio River. GPED had sought to build an auxiliary port at the site, to be called Paducah Riverport-West.

Although not successful in obtaining the RAISE grant funds, the KPDI grant will allow continued development of the site for the potential extension of the public port. GPED President Bruce Wilcox said the organization continues to pursue grant opportunities and was told that although it was turned down for grant funds on this first submission that the project received high technical merits.

Paducah-McCracken County Joint Sewer Agency Executive Director John Hodges said the extension of the sanitary sewer lines roughly 1.5 miles to the edge of the property will allow maximum flexibility for any companies locating on it while also serving as an incentive because it will reduce any time needed for construction.

Ballard County Site

The Ballard County Fiscal Court, on behalf of the West Kentucky Regional Riverport Authority, received a KPDI grant for $300,000 for developing acreage for the planned Western Kentucky Riverport Authority. It requires a $300,000 local match, which is being funded by Ballard and Carlisle counties.

The port authority board has a public-private partnership agreement on 69 acres of land at Lower Mississippi Mile 950.2, with roughly 2,000 feet of riverfront and two mooring cells owned by the adjacent Phoenix Paper mill. The site is just upstream from where Mayfield Creek flows into the Mississippi.

A formal lease agreement with Phoenix Paper will be sought once plans are further developed.

Plans for an initial phase of the project call for the development of an in-stream port on 19 acres, divided into a 12-acre segment and a 5-acre segment. The KDPI grant will allow continued site development, including engineering and planning, port authority board Chairman David Rambo said.

“We were very excited the state saw what we saw in that site as a viable potential port,” he said, noting that the grant process included a site evaluation by an independent evaluator.