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NLC honors four cities for urban enrichment.

Gadsden, Alabama; Salem, Ore.; Richmond, Va.; and Los Angeles are the winners of the 1992 Urban Enrichment award from NLC and the CH2M Hill engineering consulting firm.

The awards will be presented on December 1, 1992 at the National League of Cities 69th Annual Congress of Cities in New Orleans.

Winners were selected from entries received from cities of all sizes throughout the United States. The award is sponsored by the National League of Cities and funded by CH2M Hill. One winner is selected from each of the following population categories: under 50,000; 50,000 to 150,000; 150,000 to 500,000; and above 500,000.

The award for outstanding initiatives by cities under 50,000 population honors Gadsden's Center for Cultural Arts. Salem, Ore. was honored under the 50,000 to 150,000 category for an institutional water conservation project; Richmond, Va. won under the 150,000 to 500,000 category for leadership in a Combined Sewer Overflow Partnership; and Los Angeles won for the above 500,000 category for coordinating community cleanup efforts.

"The quality of life in a community depends on many things, ranging from cultural activities to a healthful and attractive environment. These local projects are outstanding examples of what resourceful, collaborative and creative leadership can do to help make our cities and towns better places for everyone," said NLC Executive Director Donald J. Borut.

The urban enrichment awards were conceived as a way to encourage and reward the coordinated development efforts and public-private partnerships that have become a driving force in helping to bring about higher quality and more sensitive development that enhances the appearance, character and overall environment of urban areas. The award is named in honor of a founding partner and retired chief executive officer of CH2M Hill and carries a cash prize of $1,000 to support a non-profit community organization in the winning city.

The Gadsden Center for Cultural Arts is a broadly supported new downtown attraction with highly diversified programs and activities ranging from museum displays to workshop areas, a recital hall and a children's theatre. The center enlisted broad community representation, a funding effort that involved more than 2,000 people and an operating program drawing upon nearly 150 volunteers supporting a full-time professional staff of eight persons. Supported by $2.2 million in contributions, the center is located in a renovated two-story building in the central business district that had once housed a department store.

Salem, Ore. won for an industrial wastewater conservation project that enables the community too gain additional wastewater capacity without adding expensive new treatment facilities. The first two projects assisted by local grants reduced flows by 23 and 56 percent. saving the companies over $150,000 in annual sewer bills, as well. Several additional projects are being developed with other users, enabling the city to avoid a costly and politically unpopular expansion at the existing plant.

Richmond, Va. was awarded for its leadership in addressing the problems of combined sewer overflows (CSOs) which began when the city convened a special meeting in 1988 of communities burdened by similar conditions. Richmond has led efforts to draw attention to the technical difficulties and costs of dealing with CSOs and the city spearheaded creation of the CSO Partnership, supported by 75 dues-paying members, to help shape control strategies to address the special problems involving combined sewers.

By acting as a liaison between community groups in Los Angeles and various city departments, Operation Clean Sweep has increased the effectiveness of volunteer clean-up efforts by speeding access to many city agencies and resources. In addition to its primary focus on litter and graffiti, the program has also branched out to assist neighborhood beautification projects and utilizing a newsletter and appearance by OCS coordinators to provide information and support at community meetings and neighborhoods functions.

The urban enrichment also recognized the following communities as honorable mentions: Butte, Mont. for project on "Overcoming Adversity Through a Public-Private Partnership; Redondo Beach, CA. for the "Redondo Beach Recycling Center;" Long Beach, CA. for the "Neighborhood Tree Planting Project;" and Omaha, Nebraska for the "Kountze Park-Sacred Heart Infill Housing Redevelopment Project."
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Title Annotation:National League of Cities
Author:Baker, Denise
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Nov 9, 1992
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