Date of release: July 5, 2017
At a news conference held this morning at the Carson Center in Paducah, U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced significant federal funding for the rehabilitation of the City of Paducah’s floodwall.
Sen. McConnell says, “This wonderful city has done a great job taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the river which is, of course, why the city is here in the first place. But with all the water comes interesting challenges. Today it’s my pleasure to announce the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is directing more than $19 million for critical repairs and upgrade to the flood protection system.”
Mayor Pro Tem Sandra Wilson says, “We know how important the river is to our community, and it’s such a beautiful setting to be here today, but we have to protect ourselves from it.”
In 1998, the City of Paducah began working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to have the City’s floodwall authorized for a cost-sharing program with the federal government. The authorization process has taken several years with the Project Partnership Agreement for the reconstruction project authorized earlier this year. Today’s announcement is another step forward since it appropriates more than $19 million of federal funds to Paducah.
City Engineer & Public Works Director Rick Murphy who has been working with USACE since 1998 thanked Sen. McConnell for his support in this project including his efforts to increase the project’s maximum funding cap and his support in moving the project authorization and appropriation forward.
Murphy says, “It’s [the floodwall rehabilitation and reconstruction project] a $32 million project which will be cost-shared between the federal government and the local government, 65 percent with the federal government.” The City of Paducah’s funding responsibility will be 35 percent which can be satisfied by a combination of in-kind and cash funds.
Murphy stresses that the floodwall is structurally sound; however, many of the mechanical components such as valves and pumps are in need of replacement.
Mayor Pro Tem Wilson closed the news conference by saying, “We are here to celebrate our river and our floodwall and to say thank you [to Sen. McConnell] for that which you have given in support to the Paducah and McCracken County area.”
The floodwall is a concrete and earthen levee system that extends 12.25 miles. There are three miles of concrete wall and more than nine miles of earthen levee. It was constructed between August 1939 and July 1949. The City of Paducah took over operation and maintenance of the floodwall from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after the construction was completed.