Why are you interested in running for city commissioner again?
I became interested in City Government at an early age thanks to my grandfather, George Thomas, who also was a Paducah City Commissioner in the 1950’s. He always enjoyed serving, being involved in and improving our great City, just as I am. It is exciting to have the opportunity to run again.
I am honored to say, because the citizens trusted in me, I never lost an election and I think that is because I stayed focused on eliminating waste and running the city like a business.
While I was on the commission enormous things were accomplished and I was heavily involved in all of them. Of those accomplishments I am most proud of the neighborhood revitalizations (Lowertown and Fountain Avenue, I introduced the concept of the Artist Relocation Plan to the Commission.
• Carson Center
• Removal of the dilapidated Executive Inn
• Annexation Incentives to attract new neighborhoods/businesses within the city
• Creation of the Greenway Trail
• Creation of Skatepark
• Creation of the Disc Golf course
• Attracting businesses downtown such as Hoopers
• Promoted Sunday restaurant openings downtown
• Hiring of the first minority Fire Chief
• Making the Library fiscally sustainable by expanding financial support countywide
• Exposing the brick streets on Water Street and Market Square
• Creation of the JSA, served as a founding board member
• Liquor by the drink on Sundays
• Creation of the Albert Jones Park
• Installation of downtown restrooms
• City support for the construction and offering of the Murray State University extended campus and four year programs
• 2-year paid tuition at WKCTC for Paducah/McCracken students
• Expansion of Riverport Capabilities
• Incentives to attract and expand barge line headquarters and jobs in southside Paducah
• Supported the creation of Maiden Alley Cinema
• Eliminated “The Set” which was a crime ridden area south of the McCracken County jail
• Supported Brooks Stadium and served on the board
In addition to my tenure as City Commissioner I have also served on several boards that gave me additional insight into the strengths and needs in our community:
• PALS mentor Paducah Middle School
• Telecommunications and Infrastructure Authority Board
• Noble Park Baseball Association Board
• Oak Grove Cemetery Board
• West End Neighborhood Association Board of Directors
• Boy Scout Troop Committee Chair
I am excited at the possibility of serving Paducah again as City Commissioner! I have a proven track record and want to add my energy, ideas, experience, as well as my business perspective to the City’s efforts in:
• Revitalizing the southside
• Addressing stormwater needs
• Addressing recreational and sports needs
• Enhancing our resident’s experience and quality of life
WHY SHOULD VOTERS VOTE FOR ME?
My SUCCESSFUL EXPERIENCE will help lead Paducah to continued GROWTH!
I have been involved with many successful programs that have improved Paducah. I believe the increase we have experienced in the city population is directly tied to the forward thinking and work I was involved in while I was previously on the commission. According to the 2020 Census Paducah City has experienced an 8.44% growth!
The city is interested in re-starting many of these initiatives, particularly, neighborhood revitalization of which I am a big proponent. I know we have infrastructure challenges, such as stormwater, that require deliberate investment. I understand the need for long term investments to correct these deficiencies, but the investments need to start now. Regarding the stormwater project – we need to continue researching solutions but there are many changes we can implement NOW to begin to ease this problem.
I can provide the experience and energy to execute these programs in a businesslike manner and bring them to fruition.
In my past services as a commissioner, I believed in communicating with those who elected me, and I still believe that is important. Phone calls are always welcome – just give me a call at 270-994-3873. I’m always open to listen to the ideas of constituents, peers, and city staff to come up with cost effective and workable solutions that benefit everyone. We all have one goal and that is to see Paducah CONTINUE TO GROW.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF PADUCAH LOOK LIKE?
The future of Paducah looks promising, an 8.44% growth in population 2010- 2020 says a lot. In the last 10 years the whole country has undergone a shift. People are comparing what smaller communities such as Paducah have to offer over the disadvantages of large expensive metropolitan areas. I sincerely believe we are poised to be even better than we are. With strategic thinking and actions, we can re-energize areas of the city, particularly the southside, recreate neighborhoods with improved housing stock through repairs and new builds that address housing shortages and attract people to make their homes in these vibrant neighborhoods. Again, I want to reiterate, we have to have available, suitable housing to continue to attract new residents.
IF YOU WERE ELECTED CITY COMMISSIONER, WHAT WOULD BE SOME OF YOUR PRIORITIES?
,I agree with the present City priorities with some nuances mentioned below. I want to emphasize, again that we need to start getting these priorities addressed as soon as possible.
• New Housing and Revitalized Neighborhoods – As stated earlier, if we are to continue unprecedented city growth, we have got to address the housing shortage. We especially need to focus on the housing needs of young people that are starting off as well as people that want new housing stock. This includes smaller homes, patio homes, zero lot line homes and condos.
• Southside Development – Southside Enhancements are greatly needed! I was deeply involved with the planning and execution of the Lowertown and planning for the Fountain Avenue revitalization. Both programs were very successful, and Paducah was recognized nationally. The Southside is different but not so different that we can’t utilize some of the basic strategies. This is an exciting project and like the other successful projects I was involved in, I will provide urgency and enthusiasm to get this project going. While planning is occurring, there are things that the City can do now. A drive through the Southside shows trash and other nuisances allowed to exist that are not allowed in other neighborhoods. An easy example is the Southside Kroger’s litter filled stormwater retention area right along Irvin Cobb. Paducah is in desperate need for new, sustainable housing stock. We should make blocks of property available for new home to infill neighborhoods with various types of sustainable housing. The infrastructure is already in place for such construction. I attended the first Southside Steering Committee and am anxious to contribute my experience and energy to improve the Southside!
• Stormwater Project – Much of the city is flat and drainage has long been an issue. There is quite a bit of data that has been collected on the problem. Stormwater is a big problem. I advocate starting NOW, such as the city is planning to do to create a stormwater retention area to relieve flooding on south 24th and 25th streets as well as replacement of the Buckner Lane bridge. We need to have a ten plus year plan in place outlining our stormwater projects. This plan should be updated yearly.
• 911 Services -Technology upgrades are overdue for 911 and a funding source needs to be put in place for this service. There are a tremendous number of calls going through this system. As part of this analysis, I would like to see Paducah benchmarked with similar communities to understand the similarities and differences. There may be opportunities to operate more effectively. Ultimately the 911 system is a core safety service that government should effectively provide.
• Minority Inclusion -The city’s workforce should mirror our community. There is renewed focus on this with discussion, training, and creation of a diversity inclusion statement. This will take some time. I would like to see diversity targets put in place now for department heads to begin closing the diversity gaps. The targets should be an integral part of yearly evaluations of the department heads. Again, this is something that can begin now.
• Downtown Parking and Event Space – Many people do not realize that the parking lot that houses the downtown bathrooms and Farmers Market is privately owned. I think it is critical that we start planning today for the eventual loss of that lot. I also believe that we need to develop areas for smaller community events – Dolly McNutt Plaza would be a great place for consideration as an area for events.
• Outdoor Sports Facilities – This is an exciting opportunity and kudos to both the County and City governments working together on a large project. It is important to offer sustainable recreational opportunities to our residents. I want to ensure that the planning and construction offer recreational opportunities for people of all ages and income levels.
• Re-evaluate City Owned Facilities – I am a big believer in running the city like a business and a big factor in that success is being fiscally responsible. The city owns and manages a lot of facilities. Some of the facilities that the city operates from are not efficient or economical. I encourage a review of all city owned facilities. If the city has facilities we no longer need, we should question why we should continue to own them. I think we should focus on having functional and efficient facilities that will last us for the long term instead of continually patching substandard facilities.
If you have any additional questions that you would like to ask me, feel free to call 270-994-3873 or email me at VoteforBuz@gmail.com. I look forward to serving the residents of Paducah! Thank you in advance for your support.
Donations may be sent to:
Buz Smith for City Commission
c/o Charles Moffitt
PO Box 1080
Paducah, KY 42002
Paid For By: Buz Smith For City Commission – Charles Moffitt, Treasurer