Paducah has been awarded a 2022 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Community Impact Grant by the Tennesee RiverLine. The $10,000 grant will support DEI-focused initiatives in Paducah-McCracken County.

“Many residents of our diverse Tennessee River communities enjoy interacting with the river through paddling, hiking and other activities, but some who call the Tennessee River Valley home face barriers to experiencing the river in these rich and inspiring ways,” said Brad Collett, Tennessee RiverLine director and associate professor in UT’s Herbert College of Agriculture and College of Architecture and Design.

Paducah plans to use grant funds to provide free beginner swim lessons for 30 youth and adults at Noble Park. Paducah’s River Discovery Center will partner with the Oscar Cross Boys and Girls Club, the Paducah-McCracken County NAACP, West Kentucky Community and Technical College and the Paducah Parks Department to provide lessons.

“The stereotype that Black people do not swim has been ingrained in our society for generations and rooted in Jim Crow-era laws that disenfranchised Black people and enforced racial segregation in all public facilities including bathrooms, drinking fountains, public transport, and swimming pools,” stated Katie Axt, Paducah/McCracken County Tennessee RiverTowns local leadership team member. “As a result, access to pools, swim skill development, and water safety resources are barriers for getting people on the Tennessee River and participating in water recreation.”

Paducah is one of three communities enrolled in the Tennessee RiverLine’s RiverTowns Program to receive the grant. Other communities receiving grant funds are Clifton, Tennessee and The Shoals, Alabama.

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