Paducah-McCracken County and Calvert City are two of the 15 Tennessee River communities selected for an inaugural cohort of the Tennessee RiverTowns Program, according to an announcement Thursday.

The two are starting the journey to become an official Tennessee RiverTown and part of the Tennessee RiverLine — described as North America’s regional trail system incorporating a continuous system of paddling, hiking and biking experiences along the Tennessee River’s 652-mile reach.

“Paducah’s involvement in the Tennessee RiverTowns Program is a game changer,” Mayor Brandi Harless stated in a news release.

“The opportunity to enhance recreational use of the natural resource we’ve been given has the potential to make Paducah an even better place to live and visit. We are excited to have our neighbors in Calvert City join us on this endeavor.”

To celebrate, join representatives from the city, county, River Discovery Center and Calvert City at 2 p.m. today on Wilson Stage located on Paducah’s riverfront. Attendees are asked to wear facial coverings and maintain social distancing during the celebration. If rain is in the area, it will be moved indoors to the River Discovery Center, 117 S. Water St.

According to Calvert City Mayor Lynn B. Jones, “After landing on the banks of the Tennessee River, Potilla Calvert surveyed for high ground for a homestead site that maximized the river’s value. Calvert City was founded and thrived on the fertile ground of the river bottoms that produced abundant crops for farmers.”

A community partner in the program is River Discovery Center.

The initiative is led by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in collaboration with the Tennessee RiverLine Partnership. Communities invested as part of the Tennessee RiverLine benefit from economic development and entrepreneurship opportunities, quality of life amenities and increased access to river experiences that improve public health and generations of river advocates that are active participants in its stewardship.

The program follows the support for the Tennessee RiverLine vision observed in summer 2019, during the Pilot Community Program.

Paducah-McCracken County was one of the five pilot communities and hosted Tennessee RiverLine staff for activities with residents and leaders. Insights and community specific recommendations to embrace the Tennessee RiverLine vision, are included in a report available at tnriverline.org/pilot.

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