The City Block Project, a $21 million private investment, includes the development of a hotel, parking, open space, and mixed-use residential buildings located on the 2.88-acre city-owned block bounded by Second Street, Broadway, North Water Street, and Jefferson Street.
Last night's meeting via Zoom concerning the public spaces portion of the planned City Block Project in downtown Paducah registered 55 community participants in this particular 90 minute listening session. Paducah officials invited the public to participate with a discussion after the city portion of the presentation.
The project involves a private investment of approximately $21 million dollars in the downtown parking space across from the floodwall. Weyland Ventures is the private investor.
The project has been on the agenda for the city for almost two years and participation from the public has always been welcomed. The public has been encouraged to express their thoughts and opinions on the project as well as interject their ideas. The city has held numerous stockholder meetings and public briefings at city commission meetings.
Several topics were discussed during the meeting including a play area for children and incorporating space for the arts. Other topics included the parking spaces, the location of the gazebo and the number of trees.
The public space included in the City Block Project would be owned by the city. The city will own it, pay for it, and operate it. The hotel, residential living, and mixed-use space will be owned and operated by Weyland Ventures. The space in question encompasses Broadway, 2nd Street, Jefferson Street, and Water Street. The current use of the parking space includes retail shopping, dinnertime for restaurants and bars, and an occasional parking lot for various festivals throughout the year.
As COVID-19 continues to restrict businesses, this could be the light at the end of the tunnel for financially crippled downtown businesses. The pandemic will more likely than not continue into 2021. As we prepare for another possible six months to a year COVID-19 crisis, local businesses and the community could get a 'boost' from a more consistent downtown attraction once the project is completed.
The investment of the $21 million dollars from Weyland Ventures is a 'big chunk of change." Most of the participation in Monday's meeting was favorable for the project. Paducah City Planning Director Katie Axt said that every time a meeting is called, new information is gathered along with new ideas.
If you're interested in listening to the meeting, it's recorded and available on the city's website.