Paducah/McCracken County Honored at 2020 Tennessee RiverLine Summit

Date of release:  January 28, 2020

Pictured (left to right):  River Discovery Center Executive Director Julie Harris, Tennessee RiverLine Representative Dustin Toothman, Paducah Main Street Director Katie Axt, and McCracken County Judge Executive Craig Clymer

TN RiverLine SummitPaducah Main Street Director Katie Axt, McCracken County Judge Executive Craig Clymer, and River Discovery Center Executive Director Julie Harris represented Paducah/McCracken County at the 2020 Tennessee RiverLine Summit held recently in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Paducah/McCracken County is one of five Tennessee RiverLine pilot communities working to develop a continuous system of multi-modal trail experiences such as paddling, hiking, and biking along the 652-mile Tennessee River from Knoxville, Tennessee, to Paducah. The summit provided an opportunity for pilot community partners, members of the Tennessee RiverLine Partnership, and other key project stakeholders to celebrate and discuss the work completed over the past year.

Paducah/McCracken County received an award “in recognition of exemplary leadership and participation as a 2019 Tennessee RiverLine Pilot Community.”    River Discovery Center Executive Director Julie Harris received a special award to honor her work as a community partner. 

Harris says, “It was very special to be honored by this group.  It has been a great experience for me to be involved in such an exciting project from its beginning.  While still in its early stages, I believe that once developed, the Tennessee RiverLine will have a positive impact on Paducah and our region." 

Paducah Main Street Director Katie Axt partnered with McCracken County and the River Discovery Center to coordinate the Tennessee RiverLine project for Paducah/McCracken County with the goal of building a dynamic riverfront experience. 

Axt says, “The Tennessee RiverLine Summit celebrated the completion of the pilot program with the five communities.  We had the opportunity to share knowledge among the communities of our opportunities and challenges.  As we move forward, we will be working to determine ways to strengthen and grow our partnerships and connections as we develop this regional trail system and enhance Paducah’s assets.”

“The timing of the Tennessee RiverLine pilot project is advantageous as Paducah moves forward with the design and construction of the projects outlined in the BUILD grant.  Paducah is fortunate to have received a $10.4 million grant to enhance the riverfront and build a riverboat excursion plaza.  The Tennessee RiverLine work will enhance and inform our thinking in the design elements for recreation and waterfront activities as we move forward with the BUILD projects,” adds Axt.

The Tennessee RiverLine is considered to be North America’s next great regional trail system.  In May 2019, the Tennessee RiverLine Partnership selected the Pilot Communities from a pool of 17 applicants.  In August 2019, Paducah held a public engagement session at the River Discovery Center for the community to provide feedback on current river access and usage and input on developing the river from economic, social, and environmental aspects.

The five Pilot Communities are as follows:  

  • Paducah/McCracken County, Kentucky;
  • Roane County, Tennessee;
  • Bridgeport, Alabama;
  • The Shoals, Alabama (Florence-Muscle Shoals MSA); and
  • Benton County, Tennessee. 

From its beginnings as an idea in the University of Tennessee School of Landscape Architecture, the Tennessee RiverLine has transformed into a project with more than two dozen partners including the National Park Service, Tennessee State Parks, and Tennessee Valley Authority.  The plan is for the Tennessee RiverLine to serve as a catalyst for economic, social and environmental growth across four states while connecting communities and celebrating the history, beauty and diversity of the Tennessee River Valley.  For more information, visit