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2007 National City Livability Award Winners Announced
Miami (FL), Davenport (IA), Rock Island (IL) Received Top Honors

By Jocelyn Bogen
July 16, 2007


On June 25th, The U.S. Conference of Mayors and Waste Management awarded Mayors Manuel A. Diaz of Miami (FL), Ed Winborn of Davenport (IA) and Mark W. Schwiebert of Rock Island (IL), with First Place honors in the 2007 Annual City Livability Awards Program.

“This year’s honorees represent yet another group of resourceful and innovative mayors helping to make their communities and the nation a better place to live and work. We heartily applaud their efforts,” said Mr. David Steiner, Chief Executive Officer of Waste Management, Inc., award sponsor for the past 18 years.

Miami Mayor Manuel A. Diaz, after six years of diligently pursuing the award won for his ELEVATE Miami Program. ELEVATE Miami is Miami’s successful city-wide integrated poverty reduction strategy. The Program has uniquely united and coordinated city-based resources with those in the public, private and nonprofit sectors to provide tools, resources, education, and long-term opportunity to directly alleviate the needs of families and remediate long term poverty.

ELEVATE Miami increases livability with poverty reduction through increasing household income, savings and asset accumulation; establishing a talented workforce; enhancing a thriving entrepreneurial sector; and, building the capacity of its community and faith based organizations.

In 2000, the U.S. Census ranked Miami as having the highest incidence of poverty of any large city in the nation, the result of the large numbers of low'skilled, low-wage workers, failing schools, double digit unemployment and a stagnant economy. These dubious distinctions galvanized Mayor Diaz to tackle poverty and its causes head on. The creation of ELEVATE Miami marks the first time a mayor of Miami has articulated, planned and implemented an anti-poverty initiative that would be broad enough to have a long-term impact.

Joint Application Gets First Place Award

This year there was a joint application that received First Place for the Small City Award. Mayors Ed Winborn of Davenport (IA) and Mark W. Schwiebert of Rock Island (IL), won for the RiverVision Program. The RiverVision is a far-reaching and broadly participatory waterfront development plan for Davenport, IA and Rock Island, IL. The program involves two cities in two states planning and implementing a bi-coastal water’s edge riverfront and brownfield reclamation project.

The project will redefine the Quad Cities region, by attracting more visitors and branding the Quad Cities as having one of the most compelling riverfronts in the nation. The RiverVision project is located on the Mississippi River, and the planning process is a unique model for municipal cooperation to achieve both shared regional objectives as well as projects specific to the needs of each city. The RiverVision plan provides a coordinated framework for channeling development and configuring urban public open space to enhance and improve the quality of living in Davenport and Rock Island. The RiverVision initiative is noteworthy in that two neighboring cities through open processes are working together on a revitalization and economic development program- rather than competing with each other ­— is quite rare.

Outstanding Achievement Awards

Outstanding Achievement Awards for cities with populations of 100,000 or more were received by Mayors Mufi Hannemann of Honolulu; Jerry Abramson of Louisville Metro; Mick Cornett of Oklahoma City; and, Lois J. Frankel of West Palm Beach. Outstanding Achievement Awards were also given to mayors of cities with populations of 100,000 or fewer people: Mayors James E. Harrington of Brockton (MA); Thomas M. McDermott, Jr. of Hammond (IN); Richard A. Garbarino of South San Francisco (CA); and, David G. Wallace of Sugar Land (TX).

Honorable Mention citations were awarded for cities with populations of 100,000 or more to: Mayor Robert Cluck of Arlington (TX); Mayor Frank G. Jackson of Cleveland; Mayor John W. Hickenlooper of Denver; Mayor Alan Autry of Fresno; and Mayor John F. Street of Philadelphia. Mayors of cities with populations of less than 100,000 receiving Honorable Mentions are Judie Hammerstad of Lake Oswego (OR); Jack Ellis of Macon, (GA); Daniel McLaughlin of Orland Park, (IL); C. Nelson Harris of Roanoke, (VA); and John Heilman of West Hollywood, (CA).

For the past 28 years, cities have competed for this very prestigious award, which recognizes mayoral leadership for developing and implementing programs that improve the quality of life in America’s cities. Conference Executive Director Tom Cochran, Executive Director of The U.S. Conference of Mayors said: “Our City Livability Awards Program gives the Conference a chance to highlight mayoral leadership in making urban areas safer, cleaner and more livable.  It is also an opportunity to showcase the creativity and commitment of mayors and city governments across the country.”

The judges were former mayors who selected the winning cities from a pool of over 200 applicants based on mayoral leadership, creativity and innovation, and broad impact on the quality of life for residents. The 2008 City Livability Awards will be announced during the 75th Winter Meeting.

2007 City Livability Award Program

LARGE CITIES

Outstanding Achievement

HONOLULU — Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s Tour de Trash program provides an opportunity for local citizens to get an up-close look at the recycling and waste processing technology, and a peek behind the typically closed doors of businesses that have instituted successful recycling programs. The main goal of the Tour de Trash program is to better facilitate better public discussions and decision making on recycling and waste management initiatives that benefit the quality of life in Honolulu. Participation in the tours has encouraged citizens to be more informed about their trash, and has led to a tighter partnership with government and industry as they determine waste management strategies.

LOUISVILLE METRO — The Louisville Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program is a collaborative effort of the between the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department (LMPD) and mental health professionals who respond to incidents involving people who are mentally ill. In 2006, the LMPD responded to 3,237 incidents involving people with mental illness, utilizing the CIT techniques, such as verbal de-escalation and other intervention skills, there were less than 2.5% incidents that involved any level of police force. Under the leadership of Mayor Jerry Abramson, officers are now able to transport patients to mental health hospitals instead of jail, which eliminates cases from criminal court dockets and allows patients to receive the treatment they need.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Mayor Mick Cornett’s Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area Public School (MAPS) program, also known as MAPS for Kids, is a 10-year $700 million project to improve public schools in Oklahoma City. The program is a partnership between the City of Oklahoma City, The Oklahoma City Public School District (OKCPS) and 23 suburban school districts located within the city limits. The program has four major components: school construction and renovation, technology upgrades, funding for projects in suburban school districts and transportation improvements for OKCPS.

WEST PALM BEACH — Kaleidoscope is a multicultural, educational, community journey produced annually under the guidance of West Palm Beach Mayor Lois J. Frankel. Each year 20,000 elementary, middle and high school students are partnered with cultural groups for more than four months to create mini “Disney Epcot” like villages featuring the different countries’ customs, architecture, history, arts, dance, food etc. The culminating activity is a one-day, free celebration, taking place the last Sunday in January, where each village is displayed and showcased.

Honorable Mention

ARLINGTON, TX — Under the leadership of Mayor Robert Cluck, the CPaRlington program is a comprehensive community-based initiative to train Arlington residents on CPR survival techniques to use when someone may be experiencing cardiac arrest. In its first year the CPaRlington program has exceeded its first year goal by training just under 8,000 people. The partnership between the City of Arlington, The University of Texas at Arlington, the Arlington Independent School District and the American Heart Association has raised the community’s health awareness, and empowered citizen’s to properly administer CPR in an emergency.

CLEVELAND — The Responsible Sexual Behavior (RSB) program, created by Mayor Frank G Jackson, is a comprehensive health education initiative which focuses on sexually transmitted diseases, teen pregnancy prevention, responsible decision-making, and related areas. The RSB program targets Cleveland Municipal School District kindergarten through 12th grade students to create sexually healthy and responsible students. The goals of the RSB program are to keep children healthy, and in school, so they may successfully complete the educational process.

DENVER — Mayor John W. Hickenlooper’s Creative Enterprises Revolving Loan Fund (CERLF) provides flexible funding streams to foster Denver’s creative workforce and recognition for the expansion of creative economic sector. The CERLF offers creative enterprises — both non-profit and for-profit access to affordable and flexible business capital and technical assistance to build strong creative enterprises. Through the Public-private partnership, local artists and creative enterprises now have a committed resource to financially support the creative economy’s development and infrastructure as an industry sector.

FRESNO — The Mayor’s Gang Prevention Initiative (MGPI) is a holistic approach to combating criminal street gangs and restoring stability to neighborhoods. Mayor Alan Autry created the MGPI to take back the street’s and restore order, while helping those who desire to leave the violent lifestyle to live peaceful and productive lives. The MGPI has 92 service providers (mental health, job training and placement, tutoring, parenting classes and tattoo removal, etc.) to assist former gang members with issues that hinder their ability to become productive citizens.

PHILADELPHIA — Last July, Mayor John F. Street opened the South Philadelphia Curfew Center in response to concerns about the connection between curfew violations and increasing youth violence. The main goal of the Curfew Center is to protect children by enforcing the curfew laws of the city and to provide help to children and their parents by connecting them to services and resources. The Curfew Center was opened Thursday to Sunday from 9:00 p.m. to 8 a.m. and received all youth found by police violating the citywide curfew in the surrounding neighborhood. Since opening the center youth violence has dropped dramatically; when comparing the eight months leading up to the opening of the Curfew Center with the eight months following its opening, juvenile shootings have dropped nearly 50% in the areas served by the center.

SMALL CITIES

Outstanding Achievement

BROCKTON — Seeking transition from its industrial past, the city of Brockton and Mayor James E. Harrington created the Brownfields to Brightfields program to redevelop a former brownfield site into a 425-kilowatt solar energy generating station. After a challenging six-year process, the the former home to a manufactured gas plant has been transformed into a solar energy park with attractive landscaping and an educational park. The Brownfields to Brightfields program has inspired numerous other solar installations in Brockton, and is currently the largest brightfield nationwide and largest solar power plant in New England.

HAMMOND — After making homeownership and education priorities for his administration, Mayor Thomas M. McDermott, Jr. established the College Bound Scholarship program, which covers tuition up to $7,500 per year at an Indiana accredited college or university for qualified high school graduates. The scholarship program challenges students, whose parents or legal guardians own a home in Hammond and attend an accredited public or private school, to dedicate themselves academically in preparation for college. During college the student’s parents must remain as residents, so the students will continue to share their college credentials with the community.

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO — The Fitness, Recreation, Education, Socialization and Health (F.R.E.S.H) program is a innovative partnership between the city of South San Francisco and Kaiser Permanente to teach preschool age children about healthy eating and active living. Activities target children, parents, and family units to educate and expose them to the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. The F.R.E.S.H program is unique in that it’s a preventive program for young children and their families, which is critical in breaking the cycle of obesity.

SUGAR LAND — Mayor David Wallace’s Internet Safety program is an awareness program which utilizes education, enforcement and prevention to help parents, families, and communities protect themselves from online predators. The program relies on peer-to-peer presentations, as well as hands-on demonstrations by state and local law enforcement to make a long lasting impression that changes behaviors on practices. The education component is followed by law enforcement predator sting. An Internet Safety tool kit was created to help other cities easily replicate the program, and the program is considered a national best practice.

Honorable Mention

LAKE OSWEGO — The Gallery Without Walls (GWW) program is an outdoor art gallery of award-winning sculptures, located in the downtown commercial area. Since the commencement of the program, many new businesses have moved into the area which has increased the variety of shops and dining choices. The current exhibit features 44 sculptures with over a third of the most popular sculptures owned as part of the city’s permanent art collection.

MACON — With over 75,000 visitors annually, the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail is the only riverside trail and park system in Middle Georgia. Created as a recreational and cultural resource, Mayor C. Jack Ellis and local organizers spent three years identifying viable trail corridors, assessing options for connecting paths to existing trail systems, and securing funding commitments from public and private sources. The Ocmulgee Heritage Trail has made the community a better place to live by preserving and creating open spaces; protecting the environment; and preserving culturally and historically valuable areas.

ORLAND PARK — The Orland Park Veterans program was created to honor and support veterans and active military personnel from the Village of Orland Park. Under the guidance of Mayor Daniel J. McLaughlin, the Orland Park Veterans program has offered health care assistance and additional services for an estimated 15,000 military veterans. Through his leadership, the cooperation of many groups including the Orland Park Veteran’s Commission, Orland Park has been able to develop programs and services that meet and exceed their objectives.

ROANOKE — When the Solid Waste Collection Service was enhanced to provide greater service and new trash containers were issued to residents, Mayor C. Nelson Harris had to re-evaluate the manner in which trash collection service was provided to all citizens. The new trash containers could be readily wheeled to the street by the majority of Roanoke residents; however they were very challenging to the elderly and/or physically challenged residents. As a result, of the Solid Waste Collection for the Physically Challenged, a solid waste collector now rolls the trash containers from the physically challenged resident’s property to the truck and returns the empty container back to the original location where the citizen keeps their container. At present there are over 1,300 residents who are on this program, which represents approximately four percent of the total residences served in Roanoke.

WEST HOLLYWOOD — In 2000, the West Hollywood City Council authorized the creation of a Russian Advisory Board, in order to increase participation among its Russian'speaking community, which is about 20 percent of the city’s population of 35, 716 people. Under the leadership of Mayor John Heilman, The Russian Advisory Board serves to empower the Russian-­speaking community and facilitate civic involvement and integration with the rest of West Hollywood. The eleven member Board meets monthly with liaison city staff to discuss issues specific to their needs.