Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

NLC Honors Eight Cities with Urban Enrichment Awards

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

NLC Honors Eight Cities with Urban Enrichment Awards

Article excerpt

Local government programs focusing on the physical reconstruction of a municipal landmark, the development of a tax increment financing district, the reduction neighborhood blight through beautification efforts, and a public-private neighborhood revitalization project, took top honors for the 1997 James C. Howland Awards for Urban Enrichment. Among the 94 entries, this year's winners in the four population-based categories were:

* Edmonds, Wash. (under 50,000);

* Abilene, Tex. (50,001 to 150,000);

* Anaheim, Calif. (150,001 to 500,000); and

* Phoenix, Ariz. (over 500,000).

Honorable mentions went to Monterey, Calif., East Lansing, Mich., Oakland, Calif., and Los Angeles, Calif.

The winning cities of Edmonds Abilene, Anaheim, and Phoenix will receive cash awards of $2,000 each. Municipalities awarded honorable mention recognition will receive $500. All eight winners will donate their cash awards to a community non-profit organization of their choice. The awards will be presented to winners at NLC's Congress of Cities in Philadelphia, Penn., on Saturday, December 6th at the Delegate's Luncheon.

The James C. Howland Awards, sponsored by NLC and the CH2M Hill Company since 1989, are designed to encourage and reward innovative local government 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 three former city elected officials who remain active in NLC: Hal Conklin (Santa Barbara, Calif.); Steve Hettinger (Huntsville, Ala.); and Steve Roberts (St. Louis, Mo.).

WINNER: Under 50,000 Population Category

Brackett's Landing Park South

Early in the 1970s, a local kindergarten teacher began her annual trek to the beaches of Edmonds, Calif. The same spot, where over 85 years before, founder George Brackett landed. With the tiny children in tow, this veteran began her traditional adventure of exposing the young minds to the wonders of inter-tidal life along the shores of Puget Sound. To her dismay and panic, she searched in frustration for her most precious specimen, the tiny native porcelain crab. It was nowhere to be found...and thus began the city's long time partnership with the private environmental protection organization, the ""Brackett's" Landing Foundation," and the physical realization and construction of the City of Edmonds Brackett's Landing Park South.

While the beach portion of the two-acre park has been restored to its natural state with native plants and driftwood, the remainder provides a man-made complement in the form of lawn-covered hills, half-log benches, an old boat, and geological strata-like walls, some of them imbedded with photos of Edmonds' distant past. Also included are a bus shelter that blends into the background, several picnic tables, and wooden foot bridges. Nearly 50 boulders serve as places to sit and Japanese Iris mark the sister-city relationship between Edmonds and Hekinan, Japan.

Funding for the project came from a partnership grant with Snohomish County Conservation Futures Funds, which is a .06% collection provided through county-wide real estate transactions.

Today, the preservation and protection program provides over 250 classroom educational sessions and 500 beach visitor tours, all of which educate over 10,000 individuals about the values of marine inter-tidal life.

Contact: Arvilla Ohlde, Parks and Recreation Manager, City of Edmonds, 700 Main Street, Edmonds, WA 98020; (425) 771-0230.

WINNER: 50,000 to 150,000 Population Category

Tax Increment Financing District

Say, "West Texas" and images of dust, oil, cattle and railroads come to mind. …

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