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City programs honored during excellence awards' 20th anniversary.

The Awards for Municipal Excellence will be celebrating 20 years of success as it honors eight innovative city programs during NLC's Congress of Cities and Exposition, this week in San Antonio.

"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."

These awards are divided into four population categories, with two winners in each category--Gold and Silver. Gold winners will receive cash awards of $2,000 and Silver winners receive $1,000. The cash awards will be donated to community nonprofit organizations of the city's choice.

The Gold winners are:

* Population Category Under 50,000: Slidell, La., "Strengthening the Community and the Economy Through the Arts"

* Population Category 50,001-150,000: Savannah, Ga., "Neighborhood Renaissance Savannah"

* Population Category 150,001-500,000: Long Beach, Calif., "Crediting a Youth-Driven Career Center"

* Population Category Over 500,000: New York, "Homebase"

The Silver winners are:

* Population Category Under 50,000: Estes Park, Colo., "Estes Valley Restorative Justice Partnership"

* Population Category 50,001-150,000: Burnsville, Minn., "Burnsville Surface Water Treatment Plant Project"

* Population Category 150,001-500,000: St. Louis, "St. Louis Alliance for Homeownership Preservation"

* Population Category Over 500,000: Seattle, "Green Seattle Partnership"

NLC and CH2M HILL have given the Awards for Municipal Excellence jointly since 1989.

"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," said Lee McIntire, CH2M HILL president and CEO. "We congratulate the 2009 winners. You continue a long legacy of strengthening communities through social, economic and environmental leadership."

Gold Winner Summaries

Slidell: With the "Strengthening the Community and the Economy Through the Arts" program, the City of Slidell has made a commitment to create a sense of community and strengthen the economy with cultural events that are accessible to all residents, regardless of socioeconomic status.

Savannah: Recognizing that many of Savannah's poorer neighborhoods were in a downward spiral, the city developed "Neighborhood Renaissance Savannah," a neighborhood revitalization model that includes the human and financial capital necessary to revitalize distressed inner-city neighborhoods.

Long Beach: "Creating a Youth-Driven Career Center" is a reinvention of the Long Beach work force development agency's youth service strategies that focuses on providing 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.

New York: "Homebase" is a network of 13 neighborhood-based homelessness prevention centers that provide a combination of case management services and financial assistance to tailor a solution in helping families avoid homelessness.

Silver Winner Summaries

Estes Park: The "Estes Valley Restorative Justice Partnership" applies the principles of restorative justice to the criminal justice system to improve victim services, reduce arrests, reduce repeat offending and give community members a more visible role in the justice process.

Burnsville: The "Burnsville Surface Water Treatment Plant Project" is an innovative public-private partnership between the cities of Burnsville and Savage, the State of Minnesota and Kraemer Mining and Materials Inc. to collaboratively design, construct and operate a new surface water treatment plant that preserves regional groundwater resources.

St. Louis: "The St. Louis Alliance for Homeownership Preservation" was formed in response to increased foreclosures in the city to provide 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.

Seattle: The "Green Seattle Partnership" is a collaboration between the City of Seattle, 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.

The award winners were selected by the following panel of judges: Karen Anderson, NLC past president; Jennifer S. Vey, fellow of the metropolitan policy program, Brookings Institution; Dee Vanderhoef, former councilmember, Iowa City, Iowa; Saul Ramirez Jr., executive director, National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials; Jeffrey Soule, director of outreach and international programs, American Planning Association; Del D. Borgsdorf, executive vice president, Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce; Robin Cooper, director of member services, Kentucky League of Cities Inc.; Cynthia McCollum, NLC past president; and Jim Dailey, former mayor, Little Rock, Ark.

Details: For more information about the winning programs, go to www.nlc.org.
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Author:Jones, Cherie Duvall
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Geographic Code:1U7TX
Date:Nov 9, 2009
Words:754
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