Paducah Main Street, winner of the Great American Main Street Award in 2010 and a 2018 Accredited Kentucky Main Street Community, serves as a model for communities throughout the nation. Selected by a nationwide jury of community development experts, Paducah proves that incremental progress and persistence pay off, creating economic vitality, a unique sense of place, and a greater commitment to community by all of its residents.
Paducah Main Street partners with business owners, property owners, and citizens through historic preservation and effective marketing, maximizes the potential of the unique historic district by focusing on business recruitment and retention, and believes that promotion of the district will make Paducah a thriving, vibrant, and attractive destination, benefiting the entire community.
Mission Statement - Paducah Main Street is a department of Paducah's city government dedicated to giving a vibrant downtown experience by promoting historic preservation, economic growth, and creative place-making for the Paducah downtown historic district and LowerTown Arts District. Paducah Main Street unites the community by utilizing the National Main Street Four Point Approach and focuses on community assets and partnerships to preserve and promote historic Paducah.
The Paducah Main Street Board meets on the last Monday of each month at 3 p.m. in the City Commission Chambers Conference Room at City Hall located at 300 South 5th Street. Note: Until further notice the Board is meeting at the McCracken County Public Library or other noted locations until the City Hall construction project is finished.
There are several committees that work to advance the mission of Paducah Main Street.
Paducah's historic downtown has a long history of commitment by its business owners. More than $100 million has been invested in historic downtown since the start of the downtown revitalization efforts more than 20 years ago. With more than 4000 employees working and living in historic downtown and the LowerTown Arts District, businesses have access to a steady flow of customers. Shops including Groundfloor Shoes, The Chocolate Factory, and Allen Music are all celebrating more than 25 years of success in Paducah's historic downtown. Plus, new unique boutiques, fabulous restaurants, and speciality shops have been added to our collection.
The City of Paducah Planning Department offers several programs to encourage development, beautification, rehabilitation, and stabilization of the Historic Downtown area. The Downtown Development Programs are as follows:
Assistance also is provided in completing state and federal applications for historic tax credits.
The Market Square Art Park is small city-owned park located at 117 ½ South 2nd Street adjacent to JP’s Bar & Grill. It previously was a vacant lot located between two downtown buildings. The ribbon cutting ceremony for the park was held June 10, 2016. Mayor Gayle Kaler initiated the project with the desire to turn a small vacant area into a creative outdoor space. The City of Paducah Planning Department then held a public charrette to gain input for the park. Market Square Art Park photos >>
In addition to seating areas and landscaping, the park features metal art panels designed by Char Downs, fiber art banners created by Freda Fairchild, glazed ceramic art tiles by John Hasegawa, and the sculpture, Fluid Progress, by Paducah School of Art & Design sculpture students Michael Copeland and Lu Colby. Durwin Ursery developed the park’s initial schematic designs with J. Patrick Kerr, Architects completing the final designs. In June 2015, the City accepted a $44,371 bid from Midstates Construction Company for the park’s construction. Paducah Main Street received a Creative Placemaking grant from the Paducah Board of Realtors to assist with the cost of the art pieces. Also, the El Arbol Garden Club sponsored one of the cast iron benches.
In October 2015, Top Value Reviews, a data-driven, customer-centric, value-conscious website featuring product reviews and rankings, released a list of the 50 Best Small Town Main Streets in America. Paducah received the ranking of #33. Whether a place for the locals to hang out or the go-to destination of visitors to town, Main Street is oftentimes the heart and soul of a city or town. Each town on the list has fewer than 60,000 residents (according to the 2010 census) and at least one notable attraction. The towns were chosen and ranked based upon the following:
Inclusion on a major register, such as the National Register of Historic Places, National Parks, National Historic Landmarks, etc. (1 point per list)
Category of downtown attractions (restaurants, wineries, antique stores, art galleries, etc.). (1 point per notable category)
Notable and historic places (1 point each)
A national ranking of some kind (1 point each)
Paducah received 8 points with the following information posted on the website. In 2000, Paducah, Kentucky made the risky move of offering incentives to artists willing to relocate to downtown Paducah. Today, the small Kentucky town is a thriving community built around the arts. Besides the many Victorian houses and art galleries lining the town’s main street, art-loving wanderers will find the series of Floodwall Murals depicting events in local history and the rotating exhibits of the National Quilt Museum. Thanks to Paducah’s Arts a la Carte program, many artists set up workstations directly on the sidewalk for the enjoyment of passersby. A number of festivals — both art themed and otherwise — also occur in Paducah throughout the year.
In 2012, Paducah was designated as a Kentucky Cultural District for efforts in promoting the arts and cultural assets of the community, encouraging community engagement and partnerships that facilitate the stimulation and promotion of local cultural, economic, tourism and social assets. The 70-block Cultural District encompasses six museums, a world-class performing arts venue, arthouse/cinema, public library, farmers’ market, public parks, art installations and approximately 24 art galleries, retail shops and dining establishments. The Paducah School of Art and Design buildings also are located within the parameters of the Cultural District.
In December 2005, Paducah Main Street brought Kent Burnes of Downtown Management Services to Paducah. Burnes made observations and recommendations on ways Paducah can increase success downtown and make smart decisions about retail throughout the City. Click Kent Burnes Observations for a copy of the report.