Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

NLC Honors Five Cities for Urban Enrichment

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

NLC Honors Five Cities for Urban Enrichment

Article excerpt

Local initiatives to increase public safety, repair dilapidated housing, promote affordable housing and minority business, and improve the lives of children won top honors in the 1993 Urban Enrichment Awards competition.

From among more than 110 entries, this year's winners were San Diego, Calif. (over 500,000 population category); Greensboro, N.C. (150,000-500,000 population); Macon, Ga. (50,000-150,000 population); and Hoffman Estates, Ill., and Surfside Beach, S.C., who shared top honors in the under 50,000 population category. Honorable mentions went to New York, N.Y.; Dayton, Ohio; and Hartford, Conn.

The winning cities of San Diego, Greensboro, and Macon will receive cash awards of $2,000 each. As co-winners in the small community category, Hoffman Estates and Surfside Beach will split a combined $2,500 award, and receive $1,250 each. Cities awarded honorable mention recognition will receive $500. The winning cities will donate all cash awards to a community nonprofit organization of their choice.

The awards will be presented to winners at NLC's Congress of Cities in a special ceremony and reception on Friday, December 3, at 4:00 p.m. at the Peabody Hotel in Orlando, Florida.

"These local projects are outstanding examples of what resourceful, collaborative, and creative leadership can do to help make our cities towns better places for everyone," said NLC executive director Donald J. Borut.

The James C. Howland awards, sponsored by NLC and the CH2M Hill company since 1989, are designed to encourage and reward innovative city efforts and public-private partnerships that preserve, enrich, or promote high-quality, sensible, and sustainable development. The award is named in honor of the founding partner and retired chief executive officer of CH2M Hill, a leading national engineering consulting firm.

Judges for this year's competition were four former city elected officials: Larry Cole (Beaverton Ore.); Frances Huntley Cooper (Fitchburg, Wisc.); Cora Pinson (Olympia, Wash.); and Steve Roberts (St. Louis, Mo.)

Winning Programs

San Diego's "Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol" won top honors in the big city category. The program uses 35 men and women over 60 years of age as volunteers to conduct patrol and other service activities in the community of Rancho Bernardo. The volunteers undergo thorough background checks and receive 40 hours of classroom instruction and 40 hours of field training. When certified, they are outfitted with uniforms and police radios.

In addition to patrol, the volunteers check on vacation homes, visit shut-ins, conduct home security inspections, tag abandoned vehicles for towing, note street lighting problems, and give talks to school children on public safety. All operating expenses for the program are funded by citizen donations to the Rancho Bernardo Community Foundation. City population: 1,110,550. Details: Fred Wilson, (619) 538-8146.

Greensboro's winning entry was a unique public-private partnership which led to a tenday "Affordable Homes Show" that attracted thousands of visitors. The show provided construction and marketing opportunities for minority and women-owned builders and subcontractors. The city donated surplus land for a 112-lot subdivision, and set aside eleven lots as affordable home show lots.

Builders for the lots were selected by lottery, floor plans were approved, homes were built, and then sold during the show. Builders received their lots at no upfront cost, and then reimbursed the city after the homes sold during the show. …

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