The Paducah Area Community Reuse Organization, PACRO, is one of seven active Community Reuse Organizations that exist in areas where nuclear energy plants once thrived.
PACRO is tasked to mitigate the impact of the closure of the U.S. Department of Energy-owned Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in western McCracken County, Ky. Its mission includes promoting the site and surrounding acreage for future economic development and pushing for federal clean-up dollars to reduce the footprint of the long-running uranium enrichment facilities.
With the termination of the United States Enrichment Corporation’s uranium enrichment contract in 2013, the plant has ceased operation and is transitioning to a new era. A region that was once dependent on nuclear technology is branching out and becoming a hub for a variety of economic development opportunities. PACRO is at the center of that transition.
The organization is strategizing a plan for the future that will cleanly and seamlessly bring the region into the post-nuclear era. A site re-industrialization plan is in the works and new development prospects are in the wings. PACRO board members and staff are working diligently with state, local and federal leaders to release funding for full cleanup at the PGDP site. In 2013, a group of University of Kentucky engineering students also created three-dimensional models showing the groundwater cleanup process at the site to help the public understand the difficulty and complexity of the task.
PACRO’s official mission, under the guide of a now 15-member executive committee, is to create jobs in the region and diversify the economy with the impending loss of the plant’s roughly 1,100 jobs. The organization’s committee members are from the five counties impacted most by the facility, along with a representative from the University of Kentucky College of Engineering-Paducah Campus, West Kentucky Community and Technical College Workforce Solutions and Murray State University Small Business Development Center. PACRO meetings are held the third Wednesday of the odd-numbered months at 3:00 p.m. at the Paducah Commerce Center, 300 South Third St.
Paducah Economic Development (PED), the economic development agency for Paducah and McCracken County, signed a four-year administrative contract with PACRO that went into effect on Oct. 1, 2013. This contract was extended through June 30, 2020.
The contract ended a previous agreement with the Purchase Area Development District. PED provides project management services necessary for the implementation and successful completion of the PACRO mission. PED is fiscally responsible for providing administrative support to the PACRO Executive Committee, but committee members make all final decisions. Under the contract, PED uses interest from a series of loans that PACRO oversees to handle administrative costs.
When PED took the contract, it tasked executive vice president Charlie Martin, former field services director for the United States Enrichment Corporation, to serve as PACRO director. Mr. Martin left this position on December 31, 2014. Scott Darnell now serves as the PACRO Executive Director.