A little background is in order. I was a board member of Paducah Renaissance Alliance, a.k.a., PRA until you all elected me to the city commission. Essentially, the PRA is the National Mainstreet Program for Paducah. Its mission is historic preservation, economic development, promotion and organization. A few months ago the PRA staff and director, for one reason or another, left the employee of the City.
This exodus left PRA without staff rather suddenly, and hence the accolades.
My first accolade is to Jeff Pederson, City Manager. Jeff acted quickly to insure that there would be no dropped balls. Staffing would be arranged from within to cover the bases efficiently and at little cost. One of PRA's major goals this year was to have a study completed on the Colombia Theater's reuse. Jeff kept the focus, and the study went ahead.
Steve Ervin, head of the Planning Department, gets my next accolade. PRA had been working on an initiative of making certain our downtown core of buildings would not collapse due to bad roofs. You may have known this by the name The Roof Stabilization Program. The program has started, and it is a good first step in securing the fabric of our downtown.
Steve Ervin gets another accolade for applying the concepts of The Fountain Neighborhood Project to filling out the vacant lots in the LowerTown Arts District. The first artist home should start soon, at no cost to the taxpayer, naturally. This was a PRA program under the guise of The Artist Cottage.
Steve Doolittle, PRDA director, gets my next accolade for accepting the challenge of economic development of downtown properties. And, yes there are a few new stores to show for his efforts.
I, of course, save the best accolade for last. Jessica Perkins was the lone temporary hire to do all the marketing, writing, website inquiry. You name it, and she did it.
While in this feeling of good tidings, maybe I'm most happy about using tax dollars for projects, not just staff for PRA. I know something about this. While on the board I helped select two directors that just were not the right fit, for them or us.
So there you have it, no dropped balls. Your city had a department problem and together did yeoman's duty, and I thought you might like to know.