Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Transportation Cabinet Officials Announce Funding for Coleman Road Project in Paducah

Press Release Date:  Monday, March 26, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Doug Hogan

$425,000 for intersection improvement project

FRANKFORT, Ky. – A major city street improvement project for Paducah is now in the fast lane toward completion. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Chief District Engineer Jim LeFevre, on behalf of Governor Ernie Fletcher, delivered a ceremonial check for $425,000 to Paducah officials this afternoon.  The funding will be used for improvements at the intersection of Coleman Road and U.S. 60/Hinkleville Road near Interstate 24. 

“The recent influx of new development along I-24 in the Coleman Road area has generated substantial traffic flow at this intersection,” Governor Fletcher said.  “By working out a cooperative agreement for the city to do the engineering work and provide project supervision and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to provide funding, we’ve been able to speed up the delivery of this much-needed improvement.”

The project begins at the Perkins Creek Bridge and extends to U.S. 60 at the Coleman Road intersection. The current two-lane roadway will be widened to five lanes, providing traffic relief and easier access between U.S. 60, Coleman Road, and Exit 4 on I-24.   The project includes improved public access to several existing businesses.

Four significant commercial development projects are also under way in the area: a Hampton Inn with 110 rooms, a new 40,000 square-foot facility for Mike Smith Toyota Dealership (40 new initial jobs), a new store with expanded furniture retail space for Higdon Furniture (20 new jobs) and a new Marriott Residence Inn with 76 extended-living-stay rooms.

“Paducah is proud to have local businesses like Mike Smith Toyota and Higdon Furniture, with longstanding relationships in this community, make substantial new investments,” said Paducah Mayor Bill Paxton.  “It is also gratifying to have out-of-town entrepreneurs like the Marshall Development Company of Louisville make contributions to job growth and the quality of life in our community.  This road improvement project involving the cooperation of the city and state is a sign that we’re responsive to the transportation needs of a growing economy.”

State Sen. Bob Leeper (I-Paducah) noted this project is part of an ongoing effort to improve safety and support growing traffic volumes.  “I appreciate the Governor’s continued efforts to support important highway improvement projects in our community and across the commonwealth,” Sen. Leeper said. “This project is an example of our best efforts to improve safety and at the same time support a segment of our economy that provides jobs for our citizens, as well as needed services and products.”

State Rep. Frank Rasche (D-Paducah) added: “The Coleman Road improvements are an effort to keep pace with the transportation needs of our area’s economy.  I applaud the cooperation shown by local and state officials in this venture.”

Geo Tech Engineering and Testing and H&G Construction, in conjunction with local and state officials, are instrumental to the project’s completion, which is expected late next month.

$100,000 in CDBG funds to microenterprise training program

Transportation officials also awarded a $100,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to Paducah and McCracken County officials to help establish a regional microenterprise training program in western Kentucky.  The funding will be used to expand the existing Alpha Project training program in Paducah to reach participants in eight surrounding counties.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Kentucky’s economy,” said Governor Fletcher.  “It is important to give our entrepreneurs the skills they need to succeed.  This expansion project demonstrates how local officials across the region are working together to develop more small businesses and strengthen this area’s economy.”

The regional microenterprise training program is designed to help educate low-to-moderate-income entrepreneurs about the stages of business development.  The grant will expand the service area to include Ballard, Carlisle, Calloway, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Livingston, Marshall and McCracken counties.

Participants will be offered six 12-week courses. Classes will be available at three locations. At the end of the program, participants who meet program requirements will be eligible to receive one college credit hour from the Western Kentucky Community and Technical College. The regional training program will be administered through the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce and classes will be taught by the Murray State University Small Business Development Center. 

Kentucky’s Congressional leaders’ continued support of the CDBG program has made the funding available nationally and within the commonwealth.  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development makes these funds available through the Governor’s Office for Local Development (GOLD), which administers the CDBG Small Cities program in Kentucky.

$50,000 in state funds to help restore the Hotel Metropolitan Museum in Paducah

Transportation officials also presented a ceremonial check for $50,000 to local officials for the Hotel Metropolitan Museum project. The funds will be used to help complete renovations to the building. Once complete, the project will turn the hotel into a bed and breakfast and a museum for showcasing African-American heritage in the region.

Built in 1909 by Maggie Steed, the Hotel Metropolitan was once the heart of the African-American business community in Paducah. Famous patrons of the hotel included Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Ike and Tina Turner, Louis Armstrong and Ray Charles.

GOLD is the agency responsible for administering the funds.