Decatur Named in Inaugural Cohort of the Tennessee RiverTowns Program

By  | October 24, 2020 | Filed under: News

Rhodes Ferry Park along the Tennessee River in Decatur, Ala. (Photo credit: Brad Collett)

DECATUR-Decatur is one of fifteen Tennessee River communities that have been selected for the inaugural cohort of the Tennessee RiverTowns Program, beginning its journey to come an official Tennessee RiverTown and part of the Tennessee RiverLine, North America’s next great regional trail system.


“The Tennessee River is an important economic tool to the city of Decatur from an industrial standpoint and a recreational standpoint. Not only is it an opportunity to show the importance of the river to locals, the Tennessee RiverTowns Program will serve as an additional means to further the goals of attracting more visitors to Decatur. From Native American heritage to outdoor recreation, many stories flow thru the waters of the Tennessee River waiting to be untold and experienced,” said Decatur Morgan County Tourism President and CEO Danielle Gibson.


To celebrate Decatur joining the Tennessee RiverTowns Program, Decatur Morgan County Tourism held a news conference on Oct. 22, 2020 at 9 a.m. at Ingalls Harbor Pavilion.


The City of Decatur applied to be a part of the Tennessee RiverTowns Program in August. The Tennessee River is a large part of who Decatur is and how the town came to be. Decatur was originally a river crossing for settlers west of the Appalachian Mountains and today it still welcomes visitors as they enter the city and is often referred to as “The River City.”


In 2018, the Decatur City Council adopted One Decatur, a new vision and a call to action to chart a new course for the future of the city that is rooted in community values and aspirations. In this comprehensive and strategic plan, the Tennessee River is considered an asset and a priority in moving the community forward. Decatur’s One Decatur plan aligns with the Tennessee RiverLine’s mission of celebrating the scenic beauty, rich diversity and storied history of the Tennessee River and the Tennessee River Valley, connecting people and communities to each other, their river heritage and the Tennessee River landscape, and serving as a catalyst for new investments in economic opportunity, social health and ecological stewardship.


By joining the Tennessee RiverTowns Program, Decatur is taking its first step to becoming an official Tennessee RiverTown, part of the Tennessee RiverLine and a vision for a continuous system of paddling, hiking and biking experiences along the Tennessee River’s 652-mile reach. This transformative initiative is led by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in collaboration with the Tennessee RiverLine Partnership. River communities that are 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.


Through participation in the program, Decatur will be able to tap into the growing market of recreational tourism while learning to be good ecological stewards of the land and connect and share ideas with other river communities. “I believe we all owe Mother Nature our commitment to protect the environment so that future generations have the opportunity to enjoy. The RiverTowns program will provide an opportunity to transform Decatur by creating awareness of the river’s benefits while also protecting its landscape,” added Gibson.


As a Tennessee RiverTown, Decatur is:

  • Marketed as a featured destination within the Tennessee RiverLine system. Local services and destinations, and attractions are featured in experience guides, trip planning tools and mobile applications.
  • Eligible for exclusive grant and programming opportunities, technical and grant writing support and collaborative grant applications.
  • Integral to a historic initiative of local, regional and national significance.
  • Part of an invested regional network of collaborative project stakeholders.

To learn more about the Tennessee RiverLine, stay up-to-date with programs and initiatives by following on FacebookTwitter and Instagram (@tnriverline) and visiting  frequently.

Media Release/Karen Beasley/Decatur Morgan County Tourism, Inc.

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