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Twelve communities to be honored for innovation and collaboration.

Twelve local governments will be presented awards for Innovation Awards Competition at the Resources and Relations Plenary Session of the Congress of Cities Conference and Exposition Monday November 30 at 9:00 a.m.

The theme for this year's competition was "Improving Service Delivery Through Community Collaboration." The twelve award winners were selected from 80 applications reviewed by a panel of judges.

The award winners will be present at the Networking Roundtable and Great Ideas Swap on Monday afternoon to share their experiences with other conference attendees.

The Innovation Awards competition is an annual event sponsored by the National League of Cities.

The award winning projects are discussed below:

Awards of Excellence

Denton, Tex.

Collaborative Police Neighborhood Program

Mesquite, Tex.

Youth Services Steering Committee

Omaha, Neb.

Omaha Job Clearinghouse

Phoenix, Ariz.

City of Phoenix Neighborhood Fightback Program

Award of Distinction

Dallas, Tex.

Dallas Children's Advocacy Center

El Paso, Tex.

Replacement Housing Program

Salem, Ore.

Challenge of the Homeless

Award of Merit

Abilene, Tex.

AISD Joint Ventures Program

Baton Rouge, La.

Baton Rouge Children's Coalition

Oklahoma City, Okla.

Operation Fire Safe

Phoenix, Ariz.

Grand Canyon, The Second Historic Trip
 Wilson, N.C.
 Adventura East

Award of Excellence Denton, Texas Community Oriented Policing Services

The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program is aimed at involving citizens in addressing serious crime problems in their neighborhoods.

Collaborative efforts between the police and the residents of Denton to prevent and control crime in the city have met with great success. COPS has been especially effective because there exists a true power sharing relationship between citizens and police officers.

The idea for COPS was initiated by both police and community members, following a series of neighborhood meetings during which Denton's citizens voiced concerns about the impact of police strategies. In response, the department developed a new community focused policing style. Neighbors and police officers jointly began to identify the critical issues in the community and develop mutually acceptable strategies for addressing these problems. The citizens of Denton play a major role in both outlining the goals of the community and helping police develop action steps to reach these goals.

This collaborative program has enabled citizens of Denton to have more input in the law enforcement activities of their city. As the success of COPS spread throughout the city, other stakeholders in the future of Denton have become involved in the COPS program. The business community, Texas Woman's University, and various community service agencies have donated funding and services to ensure the continuation of this project.

By combining the resources of both the citizenry and the police department, the City of Denton has developed a model community policing program which addresses crime and related issues in Denton in a more comprehensive and proactive manner.

The COPS program has enabled the City to improve public safety through collaboration between the community and the City's police force.

Contact: Michael Jez Police Chief Police Headquarters 221 North Elm Street Denton, Tex 76201 Tel. (817) 566-8154

Award of Excellence Mesquite, Texas Youth Services Steering Committee

Mesquite, Texas formed a Youth Services Steering Committee which has been highly successful in addressing Mesquite's growing youth problems. The city has undergone demographic changes in recent years, resulting in a decline in the quality of life for its residents. The emergence of gangs and related problems characteristic of larger cities has inspired the city to develop creative solutions, such as this Committee.

Perhaps the most exciting feature of the Youth Services Steering Committee is its efforts to actively involve young people in its mission. From its inception, The Committee engaged student advisory groups from local schools to identify the needs of young people in Mesquite and to assist in the development of an action plan for the future. The Committee listened and acted on the students ideas and recommendations.

Another important element of this program has been to seek solutions to this community-wide problem from a variety of groups and individuals. Widespread interest in the problems of youths led community organizations and city officials from several city departments to pool their resources and become active participants in the program.

As a result of the work of the Committee, the city's Department of Parks and Recreation has added several new programs and facilities tailored to young people's interests. Other actions taken as a result of this program include the hiring of a Youth Program Coordinator, the creation of youth advisory committees, and the establishment of a teen club. Each of these accomplishments were achieved through the collaborative efforts and resources of young people, community groups, and city officials in Mesquite.

Contact: Rev. Dan Carroll Chairman, Youth Services Steering Committee Eastridge Park Christian Church 2701 N. Town East Blvd. Mesquite, Tex 75150 Tel. (214) 279-7201

Award of Excellence Omaha, Nebraska Omaha Job Clearinghouse

The city of Omaha's Job Clearinghouse: A School to Work Transition Program provides academic, social and financial support to the young people in Omaha as they make the difficult transition from high school to the work force.

The Clearinghouse pools the resources of the community college, the local chamber of commerce, and area businesses to offer a job network for students.

The services of the clearinghouse are provided to the approximately 50 percent of high school youth who are unsure about their career goals and who do not plan on attending college. With this in mind, the Clearinghouse offers counseling, tutoring, and mentor opportunities to assist these students in choosing a career path.

Other programs provided included job shadowing experiences to explore various options which are provided with the help of the business community in Omaha. In addition, the Omaha Chamber of Commerce supports the project through cash contributions as well as jobs for graduates. Metropolitan Community College has donated the personnel and facilities necessary to provide career counseling services to students.

By linking the resources of the business community, the social service sector, public secondary schools, and post-secondary education, Omaha's Job Clearinghouse is able to provide much needed assistance to the city's youth. The collaborative efforts make it possible to provide a wide range of services to young people in Omaha.

Contact: Randy Schmailzl Project Director Omaha Job Clearinghouse P.O. Box 3777 Omaha, NE 68103 Tel. (402) 449-8418

Award of Excellence Phoenix, Arizona City of Phoenix Neighborhood Fightback Program

The Neighborhood Fight Back Program developed by the City of Phoenix provides targeted urban areas with $80,000 in funding and a temporary increase in city services in these neighborhoods.

The program takes an inclusive approach to improving urban neighborhoods, involving the many stakeholders in Phoenix's future. Each year a different neighborhood is chosen to receive this assistance to help them revitalize their area.

The approach used in the Neighborhood Fight Back Program is based on the idea that citizen input and problem identification provide a thorough and well-grounded tool for finding solutions that work. By encouraging participation on the part of many different players, a common vision for the city emerged. These systematic efforts of the Neighborhood Fight Back Program are easily transferrable to addressing other community problems.

Projects which have evolved from this collaborative effort among citizens, and the public and private sectors, include the establishment of a Drug Free Zone, a Streetscape Project to improve the surroundings in communities, and a new baseball team for youths. In addition, a partnership between the Alhambra School District and the City provides summer recreation and counseling for teens. These are only a sample of the successes which have resulted from this program.

Contact: Leonard G. Knight Neighborhood Fight Back Program Administrator 251 West Washington Street, 10th Floor Phoenix, AZ 85003 Tel. (602) 495-3738

Award of Distinction Dallas, Texas Dallas Children's Advocacy Center

By bringing together public, private, citizen, and non-profit groups, the Dallas Children's Advocacy Center seeks to create a child sensitive, intervention system involving each of the various public and private agencies working in the area of child abuse.

Police, prosecutors, therapists, and medical personnel are all involved in minimizing trauma often felt by child abuse victims as they move through the criminal justice system. Working as a team they provide immediate and long term treatment and services and ensure proper investigation of both sexual and physical abuse cases. All services are provided at one location.

A second arm of the center is a volunteer organization which was formed in 1990 to undertake fund raising and public education activities for the Advocacy Center. The collaboration among more than 35 public and private organizations has produced an innovative approach that has improved community intervention in cases of child abuse.

Collectively, the agencies and citizen groups have pooled resources and avoided unnecessary duplication of effort to ensure that abused children and their families are treated in a sensitive and caring manner.

Among the services offered by the center are: multi- protective team investigation of allegations of abuse, age-appropriate rooms for interviewing children, therapeutic services, medical services, child advocate and family companion services and education and training.

Contact: Bill Walsh Lieutenant of Police Dallas Police Department 106 S. Harwood, Room 225 Dallas, Tex 75201

Award of Distinction El Paso, Texas Replacement Housing Program

The Replacement Housing Program was started by the City of El Paso, Texas in 1981. This collaboration effort brought together the city and several local non-profit neighborhood-based organizations and private institutions interested in assisting low-income homeowners living in severely deteriorated housing.

Through the use of low-interest loans and loan/grant funding combinations, the program has been able to construct 82 new replacement homes, each built on the site of the homeowner's old home.

The City's Department of Community and Human Development contracts with non-profit organizations to provide Community Development Block Grant funding for the Replacement Housing project. The community-based non-profits are responsible for the screening and selecting of potential applicants.

The private sector represented by the participation of local builders and contractors carriers out the actual construction of the homes.

Contact: Ms. Deborah G. Hamlyn Director, Community and Human Development #2 Civic Center Plaza, 9th Floor El Paso, Tex 79901-1196 Tel. (915) 541-4643

Award of Distinction Salem, Oregon Challenge of the Homeless

Salem, Oregon has developed a program to facilitate community involvement in the provision of affordable housing. "Challenge of the Homeless" is a collaborative effort which seeks to increase the number of affordable housing units in the community.

The project, developed by community leaders, began with a series of forums designated to increase public awareness of the community's affordable housing needs. The results of these forums was the development of a workplan which recommendation strategies for producing 200 units of new affordable housing annually.

As a result of the collaborative efforts of the stakeholders in the "Challenge of the Homeless" program, by 1993, 700 units of housing will have been added through the following activities:

The development of two housing complexes funded in part by tax credit programs. One of the projects to be completed in early 1993 will included rent incentives for families who are participating in a self-sufficiency project operated by the local community college.

Successful lobbying of state and local officials to establish a state housing trust fund.

The development of 114 units of low-income senior citizen housing units.

Acquisition of funds to form a Community Development Corporation.

The establishment of programs which will address other client needs such as education and other human services needs.

Contact: Marcia King Housing Administrator Housing Authority of the City of Salem P.O. Box 808 Salem, OR 97308-0808 Tel. (503) 598-6452

Award of Merit Abilene, Texas AISD Joint Ventures Program

The AISD Joint Ventures Program in Abilene, Texas offers a methodology for establishing joint ventures between public and private organizations. Through the AISD program, public facilities such as libraries and recreational areas are developed and maintained.

Although the City of Abilene and Abilene Independent School District are the major players in this effort, local athletic associations, a local non-profit foundation, and three local universities are also active participants.

Limited available resources provided the impetus for the development of the AISD program. Through the efforts of the program participants, Abilene has been successful in installing a $1.5 million dollar library automation project, establishing an internationally recognized summer nutrition program for children, developing a nine-field soccer-football complex, and reusing a vacant school as a new location for the Abilene Boys Club.

The primary goal of the AISD joint ventures program is to establish projects jointly to avoid costly duplication of services. The boys club project which was a joint arrangement between the city, school system and the Abilene Boys Club eliminated the need for the city to provide a recreation facility, provided the school district with dressing rooms for teams using the athletic complex and saved the boys club significant land acquisition costs.

Additionally, the collaboration among groups enables those responsible for planning to strive for a higher quality of services and programs, using a greater pool of resources.

The idea of establishing joint ventures to fund projects is one which is easily transferrable to a variety of public facilities and programs. For this reason, it is a valuable strategy for communities faced with limited resources.

Contact: Mike Hall Director of Community Services P.O. Box 60 Abilene, Tex 79604 Tel. (915) 676-6221

Award of Merit Baton Rouge, Louisiana Baton Rouge Children's Coalition

The Baton Rouge Children's Coalition, formed in 1990 to network and build an infrastructure for improving the quality of life of children living in impoverished areas has created a long-term plan for generating caring environments for children and families in Baton Rouge.

Impetus for the formation of the coalition was provided by the Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Book and other reports which presented alarming statistics on the well being of children living in Louisiana

Members of the Coalition include various city officials, approximately 35 non-profit groups, and private organizations, such as a local hospital and television station. Instead of focusing on their individual agendas, the members of this collaborative partnership focus on the establishment of common goals based on shared vision and a common ground.

As a result of this collaborative partnership, over 3000 children or families have received new programming or services, including extended day care and youth groups focusing on leadership training.

Examples of projects implemented by the coalition include: the establishment of two new extended-day programs, a children's court advocacy program, and a computer data-base of children's services.

Contact: Jan Bernard President of the Baton Rouge Children's Coalition Executive Assistant to the Mayor-President P.O. Box 1471 Baton Rouge, LA 70821 Tel. (504) 389-3100

Award of Merit Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Operation Fire Safe

The purpose of Operation Fire Safe is to reduce the number of juvenile fire play or arson incidents in the Oklahoma City area by helping children and their parents change fire setting behaviors.

Initiated by local fire departments and the Oklahoma County Youth Services agency, Operation Fire Safe sought to address the problem of arson by involving players from Oklahoma City as well as from surrounding areas experiencing increases in arson.

The need to take a metropolitan wide approach to this problem led to the involvement program of local fire departments, the Department of Human Services, mental health care professionals, and public citizens concerned about juvenile arson. The expertise offered by mental health care professionals helped the coalition address mental health issues, while the local fire departments offered educational programs and training on the use of fire.

The program provides early identification of at-risk children, intervention, education, and counseling as an alternative solution to sentencing of youthful offenders.

This collaborative approach to community problem solving has been highly successful in reducing juvenile arson in Oklahoma City. The problem solving process used in Oklahoma City is an exemplary approach to solving other types of problems.

Contact: Chief Mark Keim 2300 General Pershing Blvd. Oklahoma City, OK 73107 Tel. (405) 297-3321

Award of Merit Phoenix, Arizona Grand Canyon, The Second Historic Trip

The "Grand Canyon: The Second Historic Trip" is a whitewater rafting trip for individuals with disabilities which offers them an opportunity to experience outdoor adventure. More importantly, the trip reinforces self-esteem and spirit of living for the participants.

The collaborative efforts of 24 outdoor enthusiasts, the National Park Service, the City of Phoenix's Parks, Recreation, and Libraries Department, and others led to the creation of this innovative program. The common goal of all involved is to provide access to the Grand Canyon for people to whom it had previously been denied. Those who participate have a wide range of physical disabilities, however, each one expressed a renewed confidence in their abilities and were eager to plan similarly challenging experiences in the future.

"Grand Canyon: The Second Historic Trip" is an experience which will continue to benefit the physically challenged in many ways.

Contact: Carol Gray Recreation Coordinator City of Phoenix Special Populations Office 946 W. Morningside Drive Phoenix, AZ 85023 Tel. (602) 262-4543

Award of Merit Wilson, North Carolina Adventura East

Adventura East has enabled 68 families in Wilson, North Carolina to purchase new single family homes. The project was the dream of Ms. Fannie Corbett, co-founder and executive director of the Wilson Community Improvement Association (WCIA).

WICA, Branch Banking and Trust Company, the Self-Help credit

Union, HUD and the City of Wilson, and the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency collaborated to design and implement an affordable housing program which not only provides mortgage financing at below market interest rate, but also assists with financial, housing maintenance and other supportive counseling and educational programs.

The coordination of the participants in Adventura East made it possible for the program to provide a quality product at a low cost. Funding from a variety of sources has enabled low-income and public housing tenants to purchase homes at reduced cost. Each group involved was able to use their area of expertise and purpose to develop funding strategies and resources, resulting in assistance to families in the City of Wilson.

Contact: Alice B. Freeman Community Development Coordinator/Public Info. Officer City of Wilson P.O. Box 10 Wilson, N.C. 27894 Tel. (919) 291-8111
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Title Annotation:National League of Cities 1992 Innovation Awards Competition
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Nov 23, 1992
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