Release Dated: November 18, 2016
Pictured (from left to right): Parks Maintenance Superintendent Les Evans, Recreation Specialist Mallory McVey, Special Events Coordinator Molly Tomasallo-Johnson, Paducah Parks Services Director Mark Thompson, KY Recreation & Parks Society President Gary Parsons, Recreation Specialist Taylor Morsching, Recreation Superintendent Amie Clark, and Special Events Assistant Danielle Smiley
Today in Hopkinsville at the Kentucky Recreation & Parks Society’s (KRPS) annual conference, Paducah Parks Services Department was honored with two awards: the Outstanding Department for 2016 and the Outstanding Program for 2016 for the Farmers’ Market. KRPS also recognized the Rotary Club of Paducah with a Special Citation for the sponsorship and coordination of the community-built Paducah Rotary Playground located at the Health Park. The Rotary Club organized the volunteers who spent a week this summer constructing the playground that features a rock wall, castles, swings, slides, and monkey bars.
City Manager Jeff Pederson says, “Recreational assets and leisure-services programs are vital to quality of life and the mental and physical well-being of our residents. The City Commission makes a strong resource commitment to this Department, and we are proud that our dedicated employees carry through to set the standard for park and recreation programs around the State.”
Parks Services Director Mark Thompson says, “I would like to express my thanks to the Kentucky Recreation and Parks Society for recognizing Paducah Parks Services as the Outstanding Class IV Department Award for the fourth time in the last five years. This is a great honor that allows us to recognize our dedicated staff in recreation, park maintenance, and special events. This award would not be possible without the long term support of the City Commission, City Administration, City departments, and many community partners.”
Regarding the downtown Farmers’ Market, the Parks Services Department acquired the Market in 2014 and worked to revitalize it by increasing the number and types of vendors. Special Events Coordinator Molly Tomasallo-Johnson manages the Market. To create a market that would grow and thrive in Paducah, she created a program that would span seven months of the year. As a way to continue the market season momentum and to foster a sense of community coming together, she began holding themed Celebration Saturdays every six weeks, with music, demonstrations, dance performances, activities, and of course, a wide variety of local vendors and community businesses showcasing their local and homegrown goods. Since 2014, the market has more than tripled in size with currently around 60 vendors signed for this 2016 season.
Tomasallo-Johnson says, “Our Paducah Homegrown Farmers’ Market mission is a public service which supports local agriculture, artisans, and businesses improving the quality of life in this region. Our vendors work hard to bring the community produce, fresh meats and eggs, baked and artisan goods, and fresh flowers, to name just a few. We are a true community market. We strive for homegrown and home-produced while supporting local businesses.”
Even though the Farmers’ Market has closed for the season, there will be a time to shop at the 2nd annual Homegrown Holiday Market which will be December 10 at the Schroeder Expo Center. Visitors to the Holiday Market will be able to shop for a variety of homegrown and homemade products while enjoying the indoor ice skating rink. This Homegrown Holiday Market is another example of an extension of the Paducah Farmers’ Market.
Paducah Parks Services is a department of 25 full-time staff and numerous part-time and seasonal employees. The Department maintains more than two dozen parks and facilities including the operation of the Noble Park Pool, Robert Coleman Sprayground, the Paducah Dog Park, the Skatepark, the Greenway Trail, the Paducah Recreation Center, and the downtown Farmers’ Market. Plus, the Department organizes a variety of classes and sports leagues and hosts numerous events including parades, LIVE on the RIVER, the RIVERfront Concert Series, Movies in the Park, and the Independence Day Celebration.
Some of the City of Paducah parks projects recently completed or in various stages of construction or planning include the addition of lighting at the Paducah Dog Park, the construction of a restroom facility and shelter adjacent to the Noble Park Tennis Courts, the extension of the Greenway Trail along the riverfront, the second phase of the Noble Park Lake Bank Stabilization Project, construction of the first phase of the Health Park, and the Riverfront Redevelopment Project.
Rotary Award Photo – pictured from left to right – Parks Director Mark Thompson, Rotary Past President John Williams Jr., KRPS President Gary Parsons, and Rotary President Glen Anderson
Farmers’ Market Award Photo – pictured from left to right – Special Events Assistant Danielle Smiley, Special Events Coordinator Molly Tomasallo-Johnson, and KRPS President Gary Parsons