Changes coming to Paducah's riverfront

Changes coming to Paducah's riverfront
By: Erica Byfield

PADUCAH, Ky. - The city of Paducah has more than five million dollars of federal money to upgrade the riverfront, but they not spent a dime. Tuesday night Paducah city commissioner Gerald Watkins tells Heartland News, city leaders voted to build a 6-lane boat ramp near the river.

Watkins says construction should begin soon, and the boat ramp should be finished by summer.

Watkins also says the city plans to build an excursion dock for large vessels like the Delta Queen, that frequently drop anchor at the riverfront. It may be a year or more though, before the dock is ready to go.

What else should the city be doing to the riverfront? It depends who you ask. We first asked a local person, "The people in the city are not happy," said Melissa Gibbs. But someone from out of town has a different opinions, "I think it will be terrific, it will be a place for people to gather and see the arts by the river," said tourist Dave Baldwin.

To get a better understanding of what the city originally wanted to do you need to look at the drawings. The plan was to block off the Broadway entrance to create a massive amphitheater for anyone who wants to sit near the river to enjoy the view.

But this idea is not sitting well with people like Gibbs, "Being able to drive down to the front of Broadway, people want to go down there, they want to sit in their cars and enjoy the view of the riverfront."

Out-of-towner Dave Baldwin still likes the idea of more pedestrian space, "I think having pedestrian areas is nice, it allows people to feel more apart of the area." His wife Judy can't say she feels the same, "I have mixed feelings about putting more concrete and cement down by the river, because I like being close to nature."

And Melissa Gibbs is sticking to her guns. She likes the riverfront the way it is, "It's good in a way but there is also a lot of negative."
Constructing costs for the dock, the boat launch and the amphitheater would have cost $12 million and the city only has five million to spend.