The Paducah City Commission plans to eliminate the Main Street Department and the Paducah Renaissance Alliance Advisory Board while establishing a new Main Street Board of Directors.
Paducah Planning Director Steve Ervin says the new board will assist with Main Street accreditation along with promoting Main Street, which will focus on design, organization, promotion and economic restructuring for the area.
“This action I think reflects the reorganization of the department of Main Street that placed programming and associated function activities and resources with other city departments,” Ervin said.
The five-member board of directors will be appointed at an upcoming meeting.
Downtown Development Specialist Melinda Winchester says she will be working with the new Main Street board, the committees, business and property owners and non-profit organizations.
She told the commission she would like to work with the Lower Town Marketing Association to create a downtown association to work on promotional events. Winchester says a review of Main Street programs is underway that would aid in developing new programs for building rehabilitation, occupancy and retail recruiting.
BeBe’s Artisan Market Owner Kay Smart says having two groups in charge of downtown efforts was confusing for many business owners. She supports having just one group in charge of recruiting and hosting events.
“I think it’s important for the downtown to have some representation both for the merchants who are currently here and also to fill some of the vacant building that are here, which are becoming increasingly dilapidated since they’ve been empty so long,” she said.
Ervin said the city wants to create a partnership with business owners downtown and create promotional ideas to get increased exposure and increase residential living downtown.
“Increased residence downtown will provide more of the benefit to some of the existing retail establishments and or restaurants downtown,” he said. “But also, when you have that residential reinvestment you’re also reclaiming other parts of the building whether it be for the faced the roof, if you have residential living upstairs quite often you will have new retail downstairs,” he says. “It’s also a revitalization process in our downtown area.”