Grant program helps downtown roofs | News

The center of Paducah is known for its charming, historic buildings – as many have features from a bygone era – and it’s clear that a lot of effort goes into preserving these old buildings.

The city helps with that.

The Roof Stabilization Support Program is one of four downtown development incentives available to property owners and businesses, said Katie Axt, president of Paducah Main Street. They are intended for the preservation and redevelopment of historic buildings in the commercial district.

“These were initiated between 2013 and 2014 and roof stabilization was actually our first grant program that we rolled out, and perhaps the most important because our historic buildings are what make the center unique, and you have to keep that one to keep a little bit of the character of downtown and to attract businesses,” Axt told The Sun.

Axt noted that when there is water leakage, it weakens the building and potentially puts the building at risk of collapse. It can affect other properties as well as the public making this a public safety issue as well.

There are about 200 buildings in the commercial district, Axt said. The boundaries are roughly Water to Seventh Streets and Kentucky Avenue to Jefferson Street, the program area.

“We open the grant cycle once a year, usually in the late summer/early fall when the new fiscal year begins, and then staff work with Urban Renewal and the Planning Commission to review applications and award grants,” Axt said. . The municipality started processing applications for the program last summer.

Axt estimated that the city receives on average between three and five applications per year. She said it has awarded 18 scholarships since the program began.

Axt said someone from Fire Prevention noticed that the roof membrane of the Weille building had rolled off and that there was a hole in the roof. It had partially collapsed. They were able to see this from the Irvin Cobb building and notified her.

“I was able to work with the property owner to get more information about the site, ensure the building was stable and then work with them to allocate grant funds to support their work repairing the roof” , she told The Sun.

“This is a really great project in which we were able to save this building before it was too late, working very proactively with our colleagues from Fire Prevention, but also with the owner of the property.”

“I believe the cost to the city, and therefore to the taxpayer, is over $900,000 for the Kresge alone,” Axt said, referring to the work associated with the demolition of the Kresge building.

“If we’re able to work with property owners and have a head start sooner and be able to provide some assistance to help them do the right thing with their building, that’s good value. That’s good value for the city, and that’s good value for taxpayer resources.”

As an example, Market House Theater has used the city’s rooftop program in the past. It owns 10 historic buildings. MHT Executive Director Michael Cochran said it most recently used the program at 206 Kentucky Ave.

He said the biggest challenge with any of these buildings is water damage, as it erodes the brick and the interior, so getting a “dry spot to start with” is critical no matter what renovation project you’re planning. are to do.

Cochran also noted that some roof repairs and roofs can cost as much as half of what some of these buildings are worth before renovations.

“I would just like to say that it saved a lot of downtown buildings. … Those buildings have been empty for a long time and their roof only lasts so long, and that’s one of your biggest weaknesses if you don’t keep that up,” Cochran told The Sun about the rooftop program. “The city that raised that money really made an impact on downtown Paducah.”

Follow Kelly Farrell on Twitter, @KellyAFarrell11

Follow Kelly Farrell on Twitter, @KellyAFarrell11

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