The Eddyville Riverport and Industrial Development Authority and the Paducah-McCracken County Riverport Authority are two of five riverports Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear recently announced would receive $450,000 total in grants for critical repairs and equipment.
The others are Owensboro, Henderson County, and Louisville-Jefferson County.
Roughly $109,890 is allotted for the Eddyville project for “repair of erosion of banks that support a boat lift near a boat repair bay,” according to a Kentucky Transportation Cabinet news release. “The project will involve the driving of sheet piling along the bank, backfilling with embankment material and capping with rock.”
“If you look at the lift well for recreational boats, there has been a fair amount of erosion here,” said Jamie Wynn, executive director of the Eddyville Riverport and Industrial Development Authority. “So, this is a project that will help us repair the erosion and begin to make some future enhancements to our riverport, such as starting some work towards helping prevent the erosion, but also moving towards a sea wall that could be used for other projects that could take place in this vicinity.”
The Eddyville Riverport is the only riverport in Kentucky that is located on a lake (Lake Barkley) and the only one that can provide stable lake water to its tenants year-round. It’s a 50/50 matching grant. Therefore, the project is double the value of the grant award.
“I think the exciting thing for Eddyville, in particular, and our riverport here is that this is the first time we’ve had a grant over $100,000 in this program,” Wynn said. “So, we are making investments in our community to help grow and develop larger projects.”
The project will benefit anybody who needs to have a boat lifted out of the lake for repairs or maintenance. “The blue contraption,” Wynn explained, “is motorized and sits over this boat well. There are straps that go underneath the boat and it actually is lifted out of the water and then brought on land for maintenance and repairs. So, anytime they have to work on the bottom of the boat, they pull it up and do what they have to do to it.”
Wynn stood on and near the concrete walkway adjacent to the boat well. “We’re trying to address this erosion,” he said, pointing to huge gaps below. “You can see that, at one point, we used to have something (soil) underneath it and now we don’t.”
The Paducah-McCracken County Riverport Authority received $16,236 toward the repair of a chute on the conveyor system that moves commodities from the river to the riverport’s sand and gravel yard,” the news release stated. “Loss of the use of the chute has idled a concrete storage pad that can hold 2,000 tons of bulk material.”
Tim Cahill is executive director of the Paducah-McCracken County Riverport Authority. The city of Paducah and McCracken County each owns half of the quasi-government agency. The Paducah mayor and McCracken County judge-executive each appoint three citizens to the board of directors. From there, that board manages the riverport authority, which is the business entity involved in the movement of multiple types of cargo on and off the Ohio River in Paducah.
Cahill said that Paducah is a major transloader of bulk commodities and aggregates that mainly arrive by barge then go to the storage yard. From there, they are trucked out into the communities of multiple counties.
“When we unload a barge, the cargo goes on a belt and drops into a chute in our bulk yard as part of that process,” said Cahill. “By rebuilding, refurbishing this chute system, it allows us to directly transfer some bulk commodities on to an area that we have not been able to reach.
“Therefore, it should help us increase our capacity for opportunities, customers, and jobs.”