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City takes up alcohol sale, flood control ordinances

By LAUREL BLACK lblack@paducahsun.com

The Paducah City Commission had fluid on the brain Tuesday, introducing an ordinance to allow microbreweries to sell their products on Sundays and unanimously approving an ordinance to create a storm water mitigation master plan.

The microbrewery ordinance, which goes to vote next Tuesday, would allow microbreweries to sell alcohol between the hours of 10 a.m. and 11 p.m. on Sundays. The ordinance effectively would benefit only Dry Ground Brewery, as downtown's Paducah Beer Werks is already allowed to pour on Sundays because it serves food.

Dry Ground taproom manager Cory Greene said the brewery plans to be open on Sundays if the ordinance passes, though the hours of operation are undecided.

The council previously amended an ordinance that allows Silent Brigade Distillery and others to sell by the drink on Sundays, but breweries were not included.

"I spoke to a couple council members after that vote had passed and questioned why the breweries were not included," Greene said. "I guess we're the redheaded stepchildren."

Beer Werks owner Todd Blume said his establishment will likely remain closed Sundays regardless of whether the ordinance is approved.

But he said, "I'm glad to see that Paducah is changing some of their laws to help Paducah businesses."

City Commissioner Allan Rhodes noted that the microbrewery and distillery ordinances reflect a general liberalization of alcohol laws in Kentucky.

"The state has finally come into the 21st century, so we kind of go along with them," Rhodes said of the decision, which passed unanimously with little discussion.

The commissioners also approved an ordinance to execute an agreement for technical services with Strand Associates Inc. for professional engineering, consulting and other services related to the development of a comprehensive storm water master plan. The cost of the project is not to exceed $790,000.

Strand will partner with local firm BFW Engineering & Testing Inc. to create the plan, which will identify 10 priority flood areas, analyze flood mitigation alternatives, create a ranking of projects along with a cost/benefit analysis and develop a capital project program. The process is expected to end in 2018, and will replace a 1989 storm water study that examined only five flood-prone areas, city spokeswoman Pam Spencer said in a news release.

The commission spent late spring of 2016 soliciting a request for qualifications from consulting engineering firms for the plan's development. City Engineer & Public Works Director Rick Murphy, Storm Water & Drainage Engineer Eric Hickman, Joint Sewer Agency Executive Director John Hodges and Paducah Economic Development President and CEO Scott Darnell reviewed submissions from six firms and unanimously chose Strand, Spencer said.

Despite the length of the presentation on the plan at the commission's last meeting on Feb. 28, the decision to approve the ordinance passed quickly, with no objections or questions.

n In other business, Paducah Human Rights Commission Executive Director Bernice Belt updated commissioners on the organization's training and encouraged attendance at two upcoming events. The Evening of Discussion is slated for 6-8 p.m. March 23 at the Robert Cherry Civic Center. Doors open at 5:15. The 20th Annual Fair Housing Luncheon will be held 12:30-1:30 p.m. in the City Hall atrium. Belt emphasized that youth have taken an active role in preparing this year's events and asked that adults attend to show their support.

McCracken County Public Library Director Susan Baier said the library will have an "amnesty" period between April 1 and April 15 when library patrons can return late materials and have their fines waived.

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