Appeal of Demolition Control Committee Decision for 114 North 3rd Street
The Mayor and Commissioners heard the appeal by the Department of Main Street, Paducah Renaissance Alliance, regarding a decision by the Demolition Control Committee. The Demolition Control Committee consists of the Planning Director, Historic and Architectural Review Commission Chairman, and the Chief Building Inspector. The hearing was set for last Tuesday night; however it was continued for this meeting after Sarah McGee, representing the property owners, asked for a dismissal of the hearing based upon the claim that the 15 day appeal time had elapsed. Attorney Dan Key, representing the City Commission, says the 15 day appeal time started with the issuance of the Demolition Control Permit on May 17, 2012. The appeal was filed June 1 which is within the appeal time. At issue is the decision by the Demolition Control Committee permitting the demolition of the structure located at 114 North 3rd Street, a 35,000-40,000 square foot building, also known as the Ethan Allen Carriage House. The property owner, R&B Realvest, LLC, approached the City with the request to demolish the building to provide space for a paid parking lot. The property owners state that the structure is in a critical state and would need a new roof, plumbing, and heating and air systems just to stabilize it. Beverly McKinley of R&B Realvest says the property has extensive water damage. McKinley says, “[The water] has not only damaged the roof, but on the first floor, all of the wood is buckling.” PRA Executive Director Lisa Thompson and the PRA Board of Advisors appealed the decision to demolish the structure stating that the structure is important to maintaining a sense of mass and depth for Paducah’s downtown commercial core. PRA also states that the historic elements of the building, covered by a slipcover that was added in the 1970’s, could still be intact. Thompson says, “If this building is demolished, it’s a bell that cannot be unrung.” Thompson adds, “Demolition by neglect is not a good policy.” After hearing from both sides and from Paul King, a member of the Demolition Control Committee, the City Commission voted to uphold the decision by the Demolition Control Committee and allow the demolition of the structure. The entire Commission is sensitive to the loss of a downtown building but unanimously voted to uphold the decision by the Demolition Control Committee based on the demolition criteria outlined in the City’s Code of Ordinances.
Floodwall Reconstruction Project Letter of Intent
The Mayor and Commissioners approved a municipal order to submit a letter of intent signed by Mayor Bill Paxton to the U.S. Corps of Engineers (USACE) regarding the rehabilitation of the City’s floodwall. On May 16, 2012, the City of Paducah received the USACE Chief’s Report signed by Merdith W.B. Temple, Major General of the U.S. Army. The Chief’s Report recommends to U.S. Congress the implementation of the recommendations to rehabilitate Paducah’s floodwall outlined in a 2009 Feasibility Report. This letter of intent shows Paducah’s support of the Feasibility Report, pledges Paducah’s cooperation with the rehabilitation project, and offers the City’s assistance in the initiation of the Preconstruction Engineering and Design (PED) activities. After this letter of intent is received by USACE, a Project Partnership Agreement will be developed and the project then will take approximately 12-24 months to design. Upon approval and appropriation of federal funds, the City’s floodwall rehabilitation would be cost-shared with the government. The federal government will pay 65% with the City paying 35% of the project costs.
Background: The City of Paducah and USACE entered into a Feasibility Cost Sharing Study Agreement in 2009 to investigate the rehabilitation of the floodwall. The study showed that Paducah’s floodwall needs upgrades including the construction of a new station at North 8th Street behind Smoke Shop and a permanent discharge pipe to be installed under the road at 2049 4th Street also known as Woodward Hollow. The estimated cost for all of the upgrades and rehabilitation is more than $19.5 million. The City’s portion of the cost is $6.8 million; however, the City has a $2.1 million credit based on the work completed a couple of years ago to slipline more than three dozen corrugated metal pipes that run through the floodwall.
The City of Paducah operates and maintains the concrete and earthen levee system that extends 12.2 miles (9.2 miles of earthen levee and 3.0 miles of concrete). The system includes 12 pump stations and several pipe gates, pipes, and vehicular openings. The floodwall was constructed between August 1939 and July 1949. The City took over operation and maintenance of the floodwall from the Corps of Engineers in 1950. The floodwall provides a level of protection equal to the record 1937 flood plus three feet. Additional information about the Paducah’s floodwall including a video presentation about the Feasibility Study can be found at http://paducahky.gov/paducah/floodwall.