Ponderings from Paducah

Celebrate Paducah’s Parks during July’s National Park and Recreation Month


The City of Paducah’s Parks and Recreation Department slogan is “Always Something To Do” and for good reason.  The City’s parks system is nearly 900 acres with a total of 28 parks and a multitude of facilities including the Paducah Recreation Center, the Robert Cherry Civic Center, and the Noble Park Pool. 

Bob Noble Park, nearly 140 acres, and Stuart Nelson Park, nearly 60 acres, are located in the center of our city limits and serve residents from Paducah/McCracken County and across the region. Another 26 parks and green spaces are sprinkled throughout the city, providing many residents with a park within a 10-minute walk from their primary residence. 

The City’s park system includes 8 playgrounds, 11 ballfields, 6 basketball courts, 7 tennis courts, 8 pickleball courts, 3 splash pads, over 10 miles of walking paths and trails, in addition to picnic shelters, open green space, an amphitheater, riverfront stage, and docking and fueling facilities for boaters visiting the area. Paxton Park Municipal Golf Course and Brooks Stadium are city-owned facilities that are operated by commission-appointed boards. 

The department has 27 full time employees and 60 summer seasonal employees who are dedicated to maintaining our acres of land and facilities and providing programs and events. Programs include the Paducah Farmer’s Market, private reservations of the Robert Cherry Civic Center, adult and youth classes, athletic leagues, summer camps, and special events like Movies in the Park, Flag Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day, and the City’s Christmas Parade. 

Our robust system of parks, trails, programming, and events makes Paducah a great place to live, work, and play.  Help us celebrate National Park and Recreation Month this July by visiting a local park or attending a Parks and Recreation program or event. As we say, there is “Always Something To Do.”

(written by Director of Paducah Parks & Recreation Amie Clark)

Curbside Recycling and Solid Waste Changes


Beginning July 1, Paducah’s solid waste fee is changing. Over the next two years, we are moving toward an inclusive fee that incorporates curbside recycling into the solid waste collection fee.

On July 1, the $3 per month recycling fee will drop to $1.50 per month for new and existing curbside customers. Then in July 2025, there will not be a separate fee for recycling. It will be incorporated into your monthly solid waste fee, which is increasing effective July 1. However, it hasn’t increased for residential customers in more than a decade.

The recycling service will continue to be voluntary. We still want residents to sign up if they are interested in receiving a recycling rollout container.

I feel that recycling should be a priority for all communities. However, education is so important. We must ensure that what we put into the recycling bin is an accepted item for recycling.

Due to sorting and market constraints, recycling processors accept only certain items. If items get thrown into a bin that are either garbage or not approved, they can cause an entire load to be contaminated and steered toward the landfill.

Please pay attention to what is accepted and not accepted for recycling. We know that recycling reduces waste sent to landfills and incinerators, prevents pollution, creates jobs, conserves energy and natural resources, and makes a difference. However, we need everyone to pay attention to what they put in the big blue rollouts.

This following message has been around for years, but it's worth repeating.  Reduce the amount of trash you generate, reuse items where possible, and recycle accepted items.

Learn more about Paducah’s Curbside Recycling Program.

(written by Director of Public Works Chris Yarber)

Public Servants


When you hear the term “public servant,” you might think of an elected official such as a mayor or senator. However, public servants also include any local, state, or federal government employee. 

The concept of servant leadership has endured for many years. However, Robert K. Greenleaf coined the term “servant leader” in 1970 when he published his essay “The Servant as Leader.”

Servant leaders understand that they intend to serve others and should embrace the following qualities:

•             Being mindful of and caring for the underprivileged in society.

•             Prioritizing the growth and well-being of individuals and their communities.

•             Displaying awareness, empathy, and foresight.

Servant leadership can exist anywhere in the organization. Some public service involves working directly with the people living in communities, such as a police officer, while others may solely work with teams within their organization.

Public servants are often expected to be inspirational individuals who motivate their teams or their communities. An inspired team or community member is more likely to achieve growth. Plus, public servants are expected to lead by example, such as by demonstrating a careful commitment to ethical conduct.

In Paducah, we focus on our employees and what it means to be a public servant. We focus on these public servant concepts each day and celebrate them in September during City Government Month.

If you are curious about joining our City government team and being a public servant, please view our job openings or reach out to the Human Resources Department.

(written by Paducah Human Resources Director Stefanie Wilcox)

Fire Prevention Messages 


Over the weekend, I hope you remembered to change your clocks for Daylight Saving Time. Otherwise, I bet you were late to work, church, or a gathering on Sunday.

This is the time of year for fire departments to remind citizens to check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and practice escape plans.

These safety reminders may sound repetitive every few months, but they are more than slogans. Firefighters see it often – smoke alarms save lives. A working smoke detector can provide you and your loved ones time to escape safely before being overcome by toxic smoke or flames.

We know the statistics behind this message. Almost three out of five home fire deaths occurred on properties with no working smoke detector.

It’s recommended to test and replace batteries that are not the long-lifespan ones and replace any smoke or carbon monoxide alarm that is more than ten years old.

Location matters, too. Place a detector on each floor of your home, inside each bedroom, and outside each sleeping area.

Once you’ve checked and replaced, if necessary, those detectors, talk to your family about safety and escape plans.

Know all the ways out of your home, discuss where to meet, and remind your family members that once they are out of the house, they should stay out. These steps help us as firefighters quickly know if everyone is out of the house or not.

Please take these reminders seriously. We want you to be here six months from now when we change the clocks back so that you can hear these reminders again. Your life is our priority.

(written by Paducah Fire Chief Stephen Kyle)

Paducah's Population and Crime Statistics


While many consider Paducah a “small” town, it is a much busier city than people realize. The daily population is often around 100,000 putting us in the category of a mid-size city. 

Despite the influx of people into our community, our crime rate remains low.

Crime in a community is impactful. No matter how minor the offense, it has a negative effect on someone. We are fortunate that, since 2019, the most serious types of crime have dropped by 31 percent. 

Usually around this time each year, internet reports begin to appear stating Paducah is one of the most dangerous cities in Kentucky.  What these reports don’t consider is the population increase Paducah sees on a daily basis. 

When you compare our crime numbers to the daily population and not the census numbers, we are doing well. Also, the majority of our crime rate is driven by retail theft due to our being a shopping hub. 

We are fortunate that even with the daily surge of population, we are able to keep our small-town feeling.

Paducah continues to be a safe place to visit and raise a family. 

(written by Paducah Police Chief Brian Laird)

Crime Statistics Information

Changes since 1991


I joined the City of Paducah, Kentucky, as Finance Director in 1991. I was a 32-year old man looking for a good job and a place that I could make a difference. 

At the time, the City had some computer technology but not much. We had an IBM System 36 with 400MB that we doubled to 800MB for $10,000 and thought we’d changed the world. Plus, we had a couple of desktop computers.

Over the next three decades, the City changed from the ‘Stone Age’ to the ‘Electronic Age’ adding over 300 computers and acquiring software connecting us to the world.   

City operations and staff have evolved into a more professional, well-trained workforce with the tools to conduct modern day business.

As compared to what I experienced in 1991, this has helped us become better thinkers and planners and more customer and business centered.

To accomplish everything, we set high expectations for staff. We try to hire the best, expect integrity, and get out of the way of innovative people wanting to make a difference.

I encourage you to check out the various financial information available on the City’s website including the award-winning (32 years) Annual Comprehensive Financial Report (audit), the Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR), annual budget books, and local tax information.

Plus, you can look up your property tax bill on the website and pay it online from anywhere in the world.

We’re working on other ways to bring the City operations into the relevant future. The difference made since 1991 is astounding! 

(written by Finance Director Jonathan W. Perkins, CPA)

Downtown Paducah and Paducah Main Street - A Review of 2023


Revitalizing the heart of Paducah holds immense significance not only for the local community but also in attracting talent and employers to the area.

The City of Paducah prioritizes downtown development by offering incentives and support through Paducah Main Street, a place-based economic development program that focuses on historic preservation.

During 2023, public investments included $60,000 to help create new upper-story living spaces, $75,000 for new business grants that supported 13 new businesses, and $30,000 towards roof stabilization.

These efforts spurred over $4.4 million in private investment in the downtown community.

Main Street also hosted eight promotional events, including the award-winning Cocktail Trail, to bolster the district's image and support local businesses.

With ample opportunity and potential, downtown Paducah is an excellent destination for those looking to invest or open a business.

(written by Director of Planning Nic Hutchison)

Cybersecurity and Multi-factor Authentication


Cyberattacks are on the rise exponentially. More and more online systems are breached each year, stealing thousands of user’s credentials.

In this day of most everything transacted online or connected to the internet, the best cyberprotection for yourself or your business is to enable multi-factor authentication (MFA).

MFA is especially important for online accounts where you store bank or credit card information or personally identifiable details such as your date of birth or social security number.

Multi-factor authentication requires more than one method, not a password alone, of authenticating yourself.

When MFA is enabled, a text message, email, or six-digit token from a smartphone app can be used to verify that it’s truly you trying to access your accounts instead of a hacker.

MFA provides protection in the event of a data breach. If a hacker gains access to your username and password, they still can’t access your account because they can’t authenticate without your extra layer of verification.

To protect Paducah, the City’s Technology Department is rolling out MFA to its team members to provide extra layers of protection. I urge you to seek out MFA wherever possible.

(written by Technology Department Director Eric Stuber)

311 Online Portal and App


In order to stay relevant, businesses must connect with customers via the platforms that their customers use.

This is true even for city governments.

We want to ensure that we are offering a variety of ways for people to connect with the City to request services. With this goal in mind, we launched the Paducah 311 online portal and app in January 2022.

These platforms allow citizens to go online or download an app to enter requests for city services like brush pickup, code enforcement, and potholes (to name a few).

The response has been phenomenal.

Since the launch, we have received over 3,250 requests for service through the portal and app. We still take requests via phone calls, but this response shows that we are filling a gap and allowing our citizens to connect with us in a way that works for them.

Paducah may not be a business, but we do have customers.

We may not be selling a product, but we are selling an experience.

And I would argue that the experiences we have in the City that we call home are some of the most important.

(written by City Clerk and Director of Customer Experience Lindsay Parish)

City Government Month - September 2023

PONDERINGS FROM PADUCAH - September 19, 2023

There’s a day or month to celebrate anything. This month includes Labor Day, National Preparedness Month, World Tourism Day, and even Ask a Stupid Question Day.

Another September celebration is City Government Month. Before you say ho-hum, this post is to honor my more than 300 co-workers.

When I first think of City government, I think of services – policing, fire protection, solid waste collection, street repair, parks and recreation activities, etc.

But, that’s not the whole story.  

City government is Officer Blake Quinn, Deputy Fire Marshal April Tinsman, Grants Administrator Hope Reasons, Recreation Superintendent Taylor Morsching, and hundreds of great people working for Paducah.

You more than likely know at least one person who works for the city. This month, ask them what they do and how they work to make Paducah better.  

Then, share the knowledge. That’s a great way to celebrate City Government Month.

(Written by 16-year employee, Communications Manager Pam Spencer)