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City Showcase features community-oriented programs.

The 2004 City Showcase at the Congress of Cities in Indianapolis featured a number of programs highlighting the ways in which cities and towns are enhancing community collaboration and pride.

From neighborhood gardens to public safety partnerships, municipalities are working to improve the quality of life for their residents through innovative and insightful programs.

Descriptions of each of these programs can be found in NLC's Examples of Programs for Cities database. If you know of a city-sponsored program in your area that you think NLC should include in the Examples of Programs for Cities database, please contact Dylan Nicole de Kervor at 202-626-3073 or via email at

City of Birmingham, Ala.

East Avondale Garden

East Avondale Garden in Birmingham is a neighborhood garden that provides free produce to neighborhood residents, as well as food to homeless individuals.

Developed on a donated plot of vacant urban land, the garden provides families, children and seniors with a place to gather, share in their community and enjoy the health and recreational benefits of gardening. It is a collaborative effort of the city, neighborhood association, youth service corps and a local farm.

Details: Karin Hopkins, 205-254-2036 or e-mail

City of Gonzales, La.

Police and Fire Public Safety Center

Gonzales' 6,000 square foot Public Safety Center is a facility built to bring all public safety agencies together to train and prepare for emergency operations.

The facility has a multi-use classroom equipped with multimedia technology and wireless Web connections, as well as a rope rescue training course inside the building.

This project cultivates a team of police and fire personnel that can better respond to the needs of citizens, as well as brings private and public emergency teams together through training.

Details: Chief Butch Browning, 225-644-5307 or email

City of Las Vegas

Educational and Vocational Opportunities Leading to Valuable Experience (EVOLVE)

Las Vegas' Educational and Vocational Opportunities Leading to Valuable Experience (EVOLVE) program helps ex-felons get training and employment and works with them to overcome some of the problems they face in retaining jobs and reintegrating into the community.

The program has four major components: in-depth assistance to ex-felons, partnerships with community agencies, development of a potential employer base and program evaluation. In the first year of the program, more than 1,200 offenders utilized EVOLVE services, and a recidivism rate of below 20 percent was achieved.

Details: Lisa Morris, manager, 702-229-5450 or e-mail

City of Gulfport, Fla.

Community for a Lifetime

Gulfport's "Community for a Lifetime" Initiative and Philosophy exemplifies the city's commitment to creating a community that values all facets of intergenerational coexistence and presence.

The philosophy assists the community in planning, facilitating and implementing improvements and programs that benefit the lives of all residents, from youth to seniors. It recognizes the diverse needs of residents and unique contributions that individuals make to the community.

Details: Jim O'Reilly, director, 727-893-1067 or e-mail

City of Durham, N.C.

Durham Neighborhood College

Durham Neighborhood College is based on the premise that when citizens are equipped with good information about local government services, challenges and goals, they will become more effective leaders for their neighborhoods and entire community.

The 10-week program provides information about key city and county services in a comprehensive and interactive way. Sessions are offered twice a year, and to participate, each applicant must be a resident of Durham and in current payment of vehicle and property taxes.

Details: Kimberle W. Walker, 919-560-4123 or e-mail

City of Picayune, Miss.

Partnership, Pride and Progress

The Picayune Police Department's Partnership, Pride and Progress program seeks to enhance public safety for the rapidly growing community.

The program fosters community partnerships with local businesses that educate them about the operation of the department and exchange information about ways that the business and law enforcement communities can work together.

A business breakfast is held each month with the staff members from a selected business to discuss these issues. Partnerships are also made with the school district, churches, financial institutions, civic clubs, business organizations and neighborhoods.

Details: Jim Luke, chief, 601-798-7411 or e-mail

City of Cambridge, Mass.

Cambridge Walks/Golden Shoes

The Cambridge Walks initiative encourages people to walk for health and recreation. The city offers a variety of programs and activities including a free pedometer program, walking field trips for schoolchildren, walk your child to school day, walking clubs, a stair- walking campaign and many others.

The Golden Shoes program is a contest in which 100 gold-painted shoes are hidden throughout the city for pedestrians to find and exchange for a new pair of walking shoes and entry into a drawing for a $1,200 shopping spree.

Details: Jeff Walker, special projects coordinator, 617-665-3834 or e-mail

2005 City Showcase

The City Showcase is an annual exhibition of successful, creative programs from cities and towns across the country. This year, the Showcase will be held in Charlotte, N.C., at the National League of Cities' annual Congress of Cities and Exposition, December 6-10, 2005. The application and more information can be found at under Resources for Cities/Awards and Recognition.
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Author:De Kervor, Dylan Nicole
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:May 9, 2005
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