U.S. Conference of Mayors Announces 2018 City Livability Award Winners at Annual Meeting in Boston | Saturday, June 9

Boston (MA) — Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Broken Arrow (OK) Mayor Craig Thurmond have been awarded first place honors in the 2018 City Livability Awards Program during The U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 86th Annual Meeting in Boston.

The award recognizes mayoral leadership in developing and implementing programs that improve the quality of life in America’s cities, focusing on the leadership, creativity, and innovation demonstrated by the mayors.  This year’s winning cities were selected by former mayors from a pool of over 150 applicants.

“Our City Livability Awards Program gives us the chance to express our pride in cities’ mayoral leadership in making urban areas cleaner, safer, and more livable,” said Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of the Conference of Mayors.  “We are grateful to Waste Management for its many years of support for the City Livability Awards Program, and for the opportunity to showcase the innovation and commitment of mayors and city governments across the country.” 

This is the 39TH year in which cities have competed for the award, which is sponsored by the Conference of Mayors and Waste Management, Inc., the nation’s largest environmental solutions provider.

Susan Moulton, Waste Management’s Senior Corporate Director of Public Sector Solutions, presented the City Livability awards during today’s annual luncheon in Boston, MA.  “Through the City Livability Awards, Waste Management is immensely proud to honor US Mayors who are committed to strengthening our communities and enhancing the lives of their residents across the nation,” said Susan.  “For more than 29 years, Waste Management has sponsored the Awards, because the work these Mayors do to keep our communities safe, healthy, and vibrant aligns directly with our commitment to community vitality by providing innovative, safe and sustainable recycling and waste services.”

Please see below FIRST PLACE program descriptions:

Tampa’s (large city) Stay and Play Program –

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s Stay and Play Program was created to reach at-risk teens and help curb the rising tide of violence that plagued east and central Tampa. The Stay and Play Program provides a safe and productive environment for teenagers at parks and recreation facilities during the summer. Since 2015, 70,369 teens have enjoyed free admission to 13 community centers and pools, from 6 pm to midnight during their summer vacation. The benefits have been enormous, with a reduction in drugs and gang violence in East Tampa resulting in an 8.9% drop in the crime rate.

“There is no greater investment than in our youth and with the success of Stay & Play we’ve been, not only able to keep kids off the streets, but able to provide programming that offers educational and recreational learning experiences that they wouldn’t necessarily otherwise receive,” said Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “We look forward to continuing and expanding this program and hope to inspire similar programs in cities across the country.” 

Broken Arrow, OK (Small City) Birth of the Rose District –

The Saving Historic Downtown – Birth of the Rose District is a redevelopment plan for a new arts and entertainment area in the historic part of the Broken Arrow, which over decades had become a neglected and economically challenged area.  Many new businesses, with expenditures of over $25 million, relocated into this once declining district. These changes have elevated the quality of life for residents and brought more than 1,000 new jobs and over 70 new businesses into the area. Over the last six years, new development has resulted in an increase of almost $4 million in local property taxes. Annual municipal sales taxes collected in the area during that same time-period have also gone up from about $18,885.00, to over $400,000 – a 2,025% increase.

“Receiving the City Livability Award is a tremendous honor for Broken Arrow. Not so long ago, Main Street was almost derelict, with very few businesses and zero foot traffic. Today, residents and visitors will find a vibrant downtown with unique restaurants, local artisan products, entertainment and cultural experiences that have transformed our Rose District into one of the most popular destinations in the region. Thanks to the vision of city, school and chamber leaders, along with the citizens of Broken Arrow, the heart of our community is now thriving, with planned private investments of more than $60 million yet to be realized. Thanks to the U. S. Conference of Mayors for honoring Broken Arrow with this award and recognizing the hard work behind our community’s downtown renaissance.”– Broken Arrow Mayor Craig Thurmond

In addition to the two top awards, Outstanding Achievement Awards were given to five cities with populations of 100,000 or more: Austin (TX), Bridgeport (CT), Fort Worth (TX), Plano (TX), and Tallahassee (FL), and five cities with populations of less than 100,000 — Auburn (WA), Huntington (WV), Lima (OH), Niagara Falls (NY), and Sumter (SC).

Honorable Mention citations for cities with populations of 100,000 or more went to: Aurora (CO), Clarksville (TN), Grand Rapids (MI), and Warren (MI).  Citations for cities with populations of less than 100,000 went to Clementon (NJ), Dublin (CA), Gulfport (MS), and Marion (IA).

Program descriptions for the Outstanding Achievement and Honorable Mention award programs please go to: https://www.usmayors.org/city-livability/