City Awards

Boaters' Choice AwardBoaters' Choice 2023 logo has notified the City of Paducah that Paducah’s Transient Boat Dock is a recipient of the 2023 Boaters’ Choice Award.  This is the seventh consecutive year for Paducah to receive the award which honors marinas and docks that consistently provide an excellent home for the boating community and received the most praise throughout the year from boaters. The Boaters’ Choice Award is based on reviews by boaters. To be recognized, each facility had to receive at least three reviews averaging a rating of four or more stars out of five stars. Below are a few of the five-star reviews posted by boaters who enjoyed Paducah’s amenities in 2023. 

  • Excellent facility and friendly people. Will definitely come back.
  • This is a very nice well-built dock; good directions on approach and the booking site; excellent communications and responses through email and Dockwa. Very quiet.
  • Nice facility. Really close to town. Easy docking and fueling. Need 36 hours to explore Paducah properly.
  • Museum was great and murals are worth the stop alone. Town and shops very interesting.
  • Wonderful city to explore! Floating docks are in great shape with nice lookout places as you walk up to the town.
  • Probably the nicest municipal docks we’ve ever been to. Paducah has great pride in their waterfront and the municipal transient docks reflect that.
  • The dock is on the river and everything that comes by leaves a wake, but after three long days in the rain, it was great to have a dock to tie to. The city people were great about making us welcome and finding space for us. The location is within easy walking distance to restaurants and shopping. It was a welcome stop.

Outstanding Program Award for Paducah-McCracken County Tennessee RiverLine

On November 15, 2023, the Kentucky Recreation & Parks Society’s (KRPS) honored the Paducah-McCracken County Tennessee RiverLine program with the Outstanding Program Award – Class 4 for its free paddling events. Monthly from June through October, the community could register for a single or tandem kayak for a river experience of nearly five miles. These free kayak adventures launched from Clarks River Landing with paddlers enjoying the Clarks River and Tennessee River and ending at the Foot of Broadway on the Ohio River in downtown Paducah. Transportation for participants to the launch area was provided by Lone Oak First Baptist Church and Paducah’s Planning Department. Those who had their own canoes or kayaks also could register for the free event and benefit from the transportation to the launch area. The Paducah-McCracken County Tennessee RiverLine program is a partnership among the Tennessee RiverLine organization, the City of Paducah, McCracken County, and local partner agencies. The Paducah Parks & Recreation Department helped facilitate the paddling events by coordinating the registration process and promoting the events on social media.

Best Promotion of Downtown Award for Paducah Main Street

On June 21, 2023, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear recognized Main Street communities across Kentucky for their outstanding efforts in volunteerism, partnerships, economic vitality, fundraising, design, and promotion. Paducah Main Street received a Best Promotion of Downtown Award for the Cocktail Trail. This fun event is co-sponsored by Beautiful Paducah.

2022 City Government of the Year Award

The Kentucky League of Cities (KLC) named Paducah as the 2022 KLC City Government of the Year. The award recognizes a city that has elevated its community through quality governance or done something transformational for the city. An independent board of judges from around the state selected Paducah which applied based upon the City Commission’s decision to prioritize the Southside and develop the Southside Rise & Shine Neighborhood Spruce Up initiative. 

“Community innovation is a pillar of the Kentucky League of City’s mission statement, and we are excited that this year’s City Government of the Year award winner exemplifies that goal,” said KLC Executive Director/CEO J.D. Chaney. “Paducah city officials and employees made a unified commitment to embrace neighborhood empowerment and grow pride in areas of the city that have not always been at the forefront. The city’s impact is testament to the ability of city officials to reenergize communities, create new economic development opportunities, and enhance the quality of life. We are proud to recognize the City of Paducah and look forward to seeing the long-term impact of its Rise & Shine program.”

Tree City USATree City USA Logo

The Arbor Day Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters has named Paducah a Tree City USA. In 2024, it was the 32nd consecutive year Paducah has achieved this honor recognizing the efforts by the community to make the planting and care of trees a priority.

Paducah achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation. Paducah is one of approximately 3,600 Tree City USAs.

Trees provide multiple benefits to a community when properly planted and maintained. Some of the benefits include improving the visual appeal of a neighborhood, increasing property values, reducing home cooling costs, removing air pollutants, and providing wildlife habitat.

Excellence in Financial Reporting AwardGFOA logo

For the 32nd consecutive year, the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) has awarded the City of Paducah the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for its Annual Comprehensive Financial Report

Paducah’s recent award is for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022. The report, a voluntary document compiled by the City for review and grading, includes the city’s audit and various financial and statistical reports. This internationally recognized award is an essential element necessary for the City of Paducah to maintain a strong Standard & Poor’s AA- bond rating. An excellent credit rating, like Paducah’s, is further evidence that the City is serious about how it manages financial matters.


2021 Tennessee RiverLine Award - Excellence in River AnimationTN Riverline logo

The Tennessee RiverLine announced the winners of its 2021 awards at the 5th annual Summit held January 25 and 26, 2022. Paducah-McCracken County received the Excellence in River Animation award for demonstrating an exemplary commitment to breaking down access barriers to river spaces and experiences through river animation programming that is safe, inclusive and innovative. Paducah/McCracken County’s local leadership team have taken a thoughtful and deliberate approach to river animation event planning.  Training experiences at local pools and multiple small events on area rivers are helping build a culture of safe and inclusive paddling among diverse community members and organizations, highlighted through the leadership of the River Discovery Center and an emerging collaboration with the Oscar Cross Boys & Girls Club.

Peck Education Trail trail map- Outstanding Facility Award

In 2021, the Kentucky Recreation & Parks Society’s (KRPS) honored the Paducah Parks & Recreation Department with the 2021 Outstanding Facility Award for the Peck Education Trail at Bob Noble Park.  In December 2020, the City held a ribbon cutting for the Peck Education Trail.  This half mile long trail ties into the Nature Trail behind the Amphitheatre and winds through the wooded area near the Cairo Road park entrance.  The Children's Memorial Garden honoring the children killed in the 1995 Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing has been relocated to the Peck Education Trail along with 19 new dogwoods.  The Peck Education Trail is funded entirely by the estate of J. Lane Peck through the Community Foundation of West Kentucky.

2019 Preservation Kentucky Award for City HallPreservation Kentucky Award

Paducah’s City Hall has been recognized by Preservation Kentucky with the David L. Morgan Excellence Award.  This honors us for using Kentucky’s State Historic Preservation Tax Credits in the recent rehabilitation of City Hall. 

Preservation Kentucky Executive Director Betsy Hatfield says, ”There is a direct link between historic preservation and healthy communities.  Historic buildings are how we identify with our communities, and our attachment to our communities is an important indicator of how economically successful our communities will be.  Historic preservation is good for business, our economy and our quality of life."


KLC Enterprise Cities Award Presentation for Pat & Jim Brockenborough Rotary Health Park

Kentucky League of Cities (KLC) Community Development Advisor Bobbie Bryant presented the City of Paducah with an Enterprise Cities Award for the Pat & Jim Brockenborough Rotary Health Park at the November 14, 2017, City Commission Meeting.  This award recognizes city projects or programs making a true impact in their communities.  This is the second year in a row that Paducah has won for a project in the historic Fountain Avenue Neighborhood.  This year’s award recognizes the work by the City of Paducah, various partner agencies, and volunteers in creating the Health Park located at 421 North 13th Street.  In 2016, the Rotary Club of Paducah in addition to hundreds of volunteers constructed the Paducah Rotary Playground.  In November 2016, the City contracted to construct Phase I which includes a 1/3 mile walking trail, the playground’s safety surface, a fitness area, the grading and resurfacing of the grassy lawn, lighting, landscaping, water fountains, and an expansion of the Community Garden.  A ribbon cutting was held in August 2017.  At the ribbon cutting celebration, it was announced that Mrs. Pat Brockenborough is donating $500,000 toward the construction of a restroom facility and splash pad for Phase II.  

The Enterprise Cities Award program is sponsored by Collins & Company, Inc.  The sponsor is providing $1000 for each winning program to help continue its success.  Paducah received the award in addition to Bowling Green and Morgantown. 

Voice of the People awardCity of Paducah Receives Voice of the People Award

The National Research Center, Inc. (NRC) and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) presented the City of Paducah the 2017 Voice of the People Award for Transformation in Recreation and Wellness at the ICMA annual conference on October 23, 2017.  The award is due to Paducah's increases in the Citizen Survey results in the Recreation & Wellness category from 2013 to 2016. Out of all the communities that conducted the survey in 2016, Paducah had the highest ratings increases for questions related to walking trails, natural environment, and recreational opportunities. 


UNESCO City of Crafts and Folk ArtPaducah's UNESCO logo

On November 21, 2013, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Paducah, Kentucky, the world’s seventh City of Crafts and Folk Art, making the city a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, announced Paducah’s designation today (November 21, 2013) along with Enghien-les-Bains (France) and Sapporo (Japan) as UNESCO Cities of Media Arts. Paducah Mayor Gayle Kaler hosted a news conference to announce this major international designation.

“Receiving the UNESCO Creative City Designation will put Paducah in a position to share cultural assets on a global scale,” said Kaler. “Paducah is poised for cultural and economic sustainability by creating partnerships locally and with other cities.”

Paducah joins Santa Fe, Aswan, Kanazawa, Icheon, Hangzhou and Fabriano as UNESCO Cities of Crafts and Folk Arts. The Network currently includes 41 cities from all regions of the world recognized as cultural centers in the creative industry fields of Crafts and Folk Arts, Literature, Film, Music, Design, Media Arts and Gastronomy.

The Paducah Visitors Bureau pursued the application as an opportunity to showcase Paducah’s cultural pedigree, exchange know-how and develop local creative industries on a global platform. Known as Quilt City USA®, Paducah is recognized worldwide as a meccafor quilters and fiber artists. “This designation is a tremendous honor for Paducah and really the entire state and will focus worldwide attention on the incredible cultural richness of Paducah and in turn Kentucky,” said Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Bob Stewart. “We are so proud of Paducah. ”The Creative Cities Network is designed to promote the social, economic and cultural development of cities in both the developed and developing world. Launched in 2004, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network aims to develop international cooperation among cities that acknowledge and seek to support creativity as a strategic driver for sustainable development, through multi-stakeholder global partnerships.

News Conference (20 minutes) Announcing Designation
Letter to Paducah's Mayor from UNESCO
UNESCO News Release Announcing Paducah's Designation
UNESCO Creative Cities Fact Sheet