Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Eight Cities Honored with NLC Awards for Municipal Excellence

Kudos to Georgia's own Savannah!

/PRNewswire/ -- Eight cities will receive the National League of Cities' (NLC) 2009 Awards for Municipal Excellence. These cities demonstrate outstanding programs that enrich the quality of life in their communities in the areas of economic development, community and neighborhood development, children and families, homeownership, water treatment and sustainability.

An awards ceremony and luncheon will be held Friday at NLC's Congress of Cities & Exposition in San Antonio, Texas, to honor each of these cities and to celebrate 20 years of honoring municipal achievements. The winners are selected by population size.

Gold winners:
-- Slidell, La.
-- Savannah, Ga.
-- Long Beach, Calif.
-- New York City

Silver winners:
-- Estes Park, Colo.
-- Burnsville, Minn.
-- St. Louis, Mo.
-- Seattle, Wash.

"These eight Awards for Municipal Excellence cities have improved the quality of life for their citizens by developing creative solutions to pressing local problems," said Donald J. Borut, NLC executive director. "I congratulate them for establishing model programs that can serve as positive examples for other cities."

Each year, the Awards for Municipal Excellence are given jointly by NLC and CH2M HILL, one of the country's largest engineering, construction and consulting firms.

"For the past 20 years, CH2M HILL has proudly partnered with the National League of Cities to honor CH2M HILL Founder Jim Howland, and to recognize outstanding municipal projects. We congratulate the 2009 winners; you continue a long legacy of strengthening communities through social, economic and environmental leadership," said Lee McIntire, CH2M HILL president and CEO.

Details of the award-winning programs:

-- With Strengthening the Community and the Economy through the Arts,
Slidell, La., has made a commitment to creating a sense of community
and strengthening the economy with cultural events accessible to all
residents, regardless of socioeconomic status. Contact: Kim Bergeron,
Cultural & Public Affairs, 985-646-4375, kbergeron@cityofslidell.org.
-- Recognizing that many of its poorer neighborhoods were in a downward
spiral, Savannah, Ga., developed Neighborhood Renaissance Savannah, a
neighborhood revitalization model which includes the human and
financial capital necessary to revitalize distressed inner-city
neighborhoods. Contact: Margaret Williams, Bureau of Public
Development, 912-651-6529, mwilliams@savannahga.gov.
-- Creating a Youth-Driven Career Center is a reinvention of the Long
Beach, Calif., workforce development agency's youth service
strategies, which provides opportunities to engage youth in the design
and creation of physical spaces, outreach messages, collateral
materials, actual products, key policy-making and critical community
connections. Contact: Cherie Gomez, Pacific Gateway Workforce
Investment Network, 562-570-4715, cherie_gomez@longbeach.gov.
-- New York City's Homebase is a network of 13 neighborhood-based
homelessness prevention centers which provide a combination of case
management services and financial assistance to tailor a solution in
helping families avoid homelessness. Contact: Ellen Howard-Cooper,
Department of Homeless Services, 212-361-7990, ehcooper@dhs.nyc.gov.
-- The Estes Valley Restorative Justice Partnership in Estes Park, Colo.,
applies the six principles of Restorative Justice (repair of harm,
reconciliation of relationships, reintegration into the community,
responsibility taken for incident, restitution to victims and respect
given and received by all). The program seeks to improve victim
services, reduce arrests and repeat offenders and give community
members a more visible role in the justice process. Contact: Mike
Crabbs, Estes Park Police Department, 970-577-3822, mcrabbs@estes.org.
The Burnsville Surface Water Treatment Plant Project in Burnsville,
Minn., is a public-private partnership between the cities of
Burnsville and Savage, the State of Minnesota and Kraemer Mining and
Materials Inc. (KMM) to collaboratively design, construct and operate
a new surface water treatment plant preserving regional groundwater
resources. Contact: Jeffrey Radick, 952-895-4418,
-- The St. Louis Alliance for Homeownership Preservation, in St. Louis,
Mo., was formed in response to increased foreclosures in the city and
provides initial homeowner screening, budget preparation, financial
literacy courses, intervention/negotiations with lenders to
restructure/refinance existing mortgages and case management to
homeowners at risk of going into foreclosure. Contact: Barbara
Geisman, 314-622-4792, Geismanb@stlouiscity.com
-- The Green Seattle Partnership is a collaboration between the Seattle,
Wash., Cascade Land Conservancy and residents to restore 2,500 acres
of forested parkland, which are failing as existing trees reach the
end of their natural life and invasive plants have choked out the next
generation of trees. Contact: Tracy Morgenstern, 206-386-4595,

The Awards for Municipal Excellence recognize city programs demonstrating community determination, individual commitment, outstanding collaboration and creativity toward improving the quality of life in local communities.

The Awards have been given since 1989 and are divided into four population categories: cities with populations under 50,000; 50,001 - 150,000; 150,001 - 500,000; and over 500,000. Each category has two winners: Gold and Silver. Gold winners receive awards of $2,000 and silver winners receive $1,000. The awards are donated to community non-profit organizations of the city's choice.

Information regarding the Awards program can be found at www.nlc.org.

The award winners were selected by a panel of judges: Karen Anderson, former president, National League of Cities; Del D. Borgsdorf, Executive Vice President, Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce; Robin Cooper, Director of Member Services, Kentucky League of Cities; Jim Dailey, former mayor, Little Rock, Ark.; Cynthia McCollum, former president, National League of Cities; Saul Ramirez Jr., Executive Director, National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials; Jeffrey Soule, Director of Outreach and International Programs, American Planning Association; Dee Vanderhoef, former councilmember, Iowa City, Iowa; and Jennifer S. Vey, Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program, The Brookings Institution.

The National League of Cities is the nation's oldest and largest organization devoted to strengthening and promoting cities as centers of opportunity, leadership and governance. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.

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