Stuart Nelson Park

Park Closure for Paducah Sports Park Construction

To prepare for the upcoming construction of the Paducah Sports Park which will use a portion of Stuart Nelson Park and the former Bluegrass Downs site, Paducah Parks & Recreation has closed Stuart Nelson Park to the public. The gates to the park will be closed with access for Parks & Recreation and construction crews only.

The Greenway Trail will remain open to the public; however, no parking will be available at Stuart Nelson Park. The northern section of the disc golf course will remain open for a while; however, as construction begins and limits maintenance access, there will be an eventual need to close it until the Sports Park construction concludes.

Director of Parks & Recreation Amie Clark said, “At this time, we don’t have a firm date of when the construction of the Paducah Sports Park will begin. However, there are several features in Stuart Nelson Park that Parks crews will be removing or demolishing prior to construction. Since Stuart Nelson Park has a dedicated group of dog enthusiasts who frequent the dog park, I want to remind the public that the Noble Park Dog Parks are open and ready for use.”

The Paducah Sports Park is a partnership among the City of Paducah, McCracken County, and the McCracken Sports Tourism Commission for the development of outdoor recreational facilities that include multi-use recreational fields, playgrounds, a memorial to Dr. Stuart Nelson, and more.

About the Park

Stuart Nelson Park located at 175 Stuart Nelson Park Road is a large park (approximately 55 acres) off Park Avenue near Noble Park.

Stuart Nelson Park Map

  • 18 hole disc golf course (see below
  • Greenway Trailhead
  • Historical Marker about Dr. William Stuart Nelson (see below)

 Stuart Nelson Park Amenities

Disc Golf Course

About the Disc Golf CourseHole 10 with benches

The City of Paducah opened the 18-hole disc golf course at Stuart Nelson Park in March 2007.

  • Course is located at the northern end of the park. Follow the main entrance road to the back. Gravel parking is near the main sign and hole one. 
  • Open 7 days a week, 6 a.m. - 9 p.m. (standard park hours)
  • Stuart Nelson Park is closed in the event of inclement weather.
  • The Greenway Trail bisects the course. 

Disc golf is played like ball golf; however, flying discs and large baskets are used.  One stroke is counted each time the disc is thrown and when a penalty is incurred.  The winner is the golfer with the lowest score.  At each hole is a sign that shows the hole layout, the par, and the distance in feet. 

The City of Paducah thanks West Kentucky Disc Golf Club member, Mark Koebel, in addition to other members for constructing benches out of logs at the various holes.  Paducah also appreciates the construction of a wooden bridge as a local Eagle Scout project. 

Course Map         



Join a Club

Beginner or expert, visitors or local, disc golf players are invited to attend a meeting of the West Kentucky Disc Golf Club.  This recreational club is for anyone interested in learning or playing disc golf.  The club meets Tuesday at 5:00 p.m.  For more information, visit West Kentucky Disc Golf Club.

For information about other courses in the region, visit Bluegrass Disc Golf Series.

Historical Marker for Dr. William Stuart Nelson 

A dedication ceremony was held August 4, 2016, at Stuart Nelson Park to honor the park’s namesake, Dr. William Stuart Nelson, with the unveiling of historical marker #2495 through the Kentucky Historical Society.  

Then mayor, Gayle Kaler, worked to to raise funds for the marker after reading a citizen editorial in the Paducah Sun newspaper written by Carolyn Stratton.  Mayor Kaler worked with the Paducah Board of Commissioners, the McCracken County Fiscal Court, the Parks and Recreation Department, the board of the W.C. Young Community Center, the Paducah chapter of the NAACP, the Paducah Human Rights Commission, local ministers, and other interested parties to collect donations and submit an application to the Kentucky Historical Society to make the historical marker a reality.

Mayor Kaler said, “I felt that it was important to recognize the accomplishments of our one of most important citizens.  Everyone can now understand the importance of Dr. William Stuart Nelson to the community’s history and thus to honor him as a great man of Paducah.”

The marker reads

Dr. William Stuart Nelson


Lincoln Grad Had Global Footprints

Dr. Nelson was born in Paris, Ky. and graduated from Lincoln High School in Paducah.  During World War I he served in combat as a 1st lieutenant.  Returning to his studies, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard University in 1920 and a divinity degree from Yale in 1924. 

A professor of religion at Howard, Nelson studied at the Sorbonne in France in 1925 and was the first black president of Dillard and Shaw universities.  Returning to Howard, he served as dean & vice president.  He marched with Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and wrote several books and papers on non-violent resistance.  This park was named for him in the 1940s.