Category: All-America City Awards
In honor of Gaston County’s upcoming community celebration, we made this short video about Gastonia’s All-America City Award-winning projects.
A city of about 74,000 in the Charlotte region, Gastonia, like other southern mill towns, has been hit hard by the double whammy of a loss of textile jobs and the 2008 recession. The unemployment is around 13 percent and the high school drop out rate is one of the highest in the region. The economy woes have also slammed some of the city’s older neighborhoods as lower income homeowners struggle to keep their properties repaired.
Hope for Gaston
In 2006 the city joined with a faith-based program, Hope4Gaston, to make home repairs for low income residents of the mostly African-American Highlands section. A community development block grant was used to pay for construction materials, and teams of 20-40 volunteers were assigned to various homes to do repairs under the supervision of licensed contractors. Repairs valued at $348,000 were made in two days to 50 homes. Very good leveraging of the $27,000 grant.
Highland Health Center
In 2007, the Gaston County Health Department conducted a door-to-door survey of local health care needs. With help from the city, eight teams fanned out across the Highland neighborhood to interview residents. They found that about one fifth of them had no health insurance. A business plan for a new Highlands Health Center was developed to address the community’s health needs, ranging from teen pregnancy to heart disease and diabetes. The health center opened July.
Run for the Money
The community stages an annual run to raise money for local nonprofits. It began in 2003, a time when local nonprofits were struggling. After sending hundreds of thousands of dollars to support relief efforts in New York after 9/11, Gaston County residents were tapped out. A stagnant economy didn’t help matters.
All told the annual event has raised about $7.8 million for local nonprofits in seven years. The run has become a community event involving hundreds of families. “There is no other fundraiser we could do that could raise this kind of money for us,” notes Cathy Howell, director of Crisis Assistance Ministry.
Lowering the Drop Out rate
Established by Mayor Jennie Stultz and the city council, the Mayor’s Youth Council became concerned with the dropout rate. In 2008, they surveyed 9th and 10th graders to find out about the various causes of dropping out of school. One of the major reasons, they discovered, was anxiety over a mandated senior graduation project. This year, the youth group invited role models to speak on the importance of staying in school, including former MVP NBA start James Worthy, a native Gastonian.
Gaston Career Climb
Three county foundations came together to support Gaston Career Climb, a program to improve the skill levels of the local workforce. Computer-based assessments of students and adults were used to determine skill levels. The program prepares students and adults to be tested for “Career Readiness Certificates.” Over 50 area businesses now recognize these certificates and use them in their hiring practices.
Chandler, AZ – The 2010 All-America City quilt begins a 25-city tour Saturday, October 16, allowing each of the communities that participated in the annual civic recognition program an opportunity to display the finished patchwork.
First stop on the national tour will be Chandler’s Tumbleweed Park where it will be unveiled during the annual Day of Play. The quilt will then be displayed at Chandler’s downtown library through October 24. The Day of Play is a free celebration that runs from 8 a.m. to noon and recognizes the importance of fitness, health and wellness for kids of all ages. The quilt will be unveiled at 8:30 a.m. by Mayor Boyd Dunn. Tumbleweed Park is located at 745 E. Germann Road. The library is located at 22 S. Delaware Street.
The quilt will visit 19 states during the next year, making its final stop in Middleton, Wisconsin. All-America City finalists contributed 12-inch by 12-inch squares that were sewn together for the display. Carol Temple, an avid quilter at the Chandler Senior Center, designed Chandler’s square.
“What a wonderful opportunity to allow Chandler to debut this great work of Americana art,” Mayor Dunn said. “I was proud to have delivered Chandler’s square to the National Civic League staff during the All-America City competition this summer. Now to see it all come together is a great feeling. I also want to commend Carol for truly representing Chandler at its best.”
The quilt also becomes Chandler’s contribution to Cities and Towns Week, sponsored by the League of Arizona Cities and Towns. The week is set aside each year to recognize the services that cities and towns provide, as well as to honor those who serve at all levels of municipal government.
“To me the quilt is a vibrant illustration of what is working in American communities,” said National Civic League (NCL) President Gloria Rubio-Cortes.
For more information, contact City of Chandler’s Public Information Officer Craig Younger at 480-782-2701.
The Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce has announced plans for a new free community festival that celebrates Gaston County on Saturday, October 23, 2010 from 4:00 PM – 9:30 PM at the Rotary Centennial Pavilion in downtown Gastonia, North Carolina.
The celebration will kick-off with a “Children’s All-America City” Parade – celebrating Gastonia’s Promise at 3:30 PM. Children and youth will gather at Main Street and Oakland Street then walk or ride bikes, roller blades, skateboards or in strollers down Main Street from Oakland Street to South Street. The parade will end at the South Street Pedestrian Plaza, where the “Celebrate Gaston!” event will be held.
Entertainment for the day includes three bands performing on the CaroMont Health Main Stage. Entertainment acts include:
3:30 PM – “Children’s All America City” Parade – Main Street and Oakland
4:00 PM – 8:00 PM – Jaycee’s Kid Zone- includes obstacle course, face painting, and more
4:00 PM – 5:15 PM – Square Roots, cover from the 70’s to today and original music
5:15PM – 5:30 PM – City of Gastonia All-America City presentation
5:45 PM – 7:15 PM – The Red Hots, covers from dance, oldies, rock and Top 40
7:45PM – 9:15 PM – Headliner – The Dave Matthews Tribute Band
9:30 PM – Fireworks
Festival-goers will enjoy great food from local eateries: Tequilas, Texas Roadhouse, Java Dave’s, RO’s and more. A beer garden sponsored by Anheuser Busch (Standard Distributors) will be available for the adults.
Sponsors/Supports to date include:
Sun Drop – Presenting Sponsor
CaroMont Health- Main Stage Sponsor
Anheuser Busch (Standard Distributors)
The Sumner Group
The 2010 All-America City quilt began a 25-city tour today, allowing each of the communities that participated in the annual civic recognition program an opportunity to display the finished patchwork.
“To me the quilt is a vibrant illustration of what is working in American communities,” said NCL President Gloria Rubio-Cortes, noting that each of the 25 communities named All-America City finalists in 2010 added an individual square to the quilt.
“Quilts are an important part of documenting our history,” she added. “The All-America City quilt honors the people from the 25 communities who told their stories and pledged to make their communities stronger, better and safer places to live.”
First stop on the national tour will be Chandler, Arizona. The quilt will visit 19 states during the next year, making its final stop in Middleton, Wisconsin.
The quilt became an instant tradition in 2007, when Gloria, an avid quilter, came up with the idea of asking participants to contribute individual squares depicting something about their respective communities.
Jane McAtee, Corporate Community Affairs and Grassroots for Southwest Airlines, the official airlines of the awards program for the past three years, dropped by the NCL offices to see off the quilt.
Rancho Cordova is celebrating its All-America City Award by giving away free ice cream. Link here for more information,
Five “ice cream socials” will be held at five different locations, all hosted by the City of Rancho Cordova.
The first celebration will be Saturday, August 28th, at Sunriver Park, 11120 Moose River Court, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Complimentary ice cream and other frozen treats will be served, while quantities last. In addition, commemorative bookmarks will be distributed.
The other four ice cream socials will be 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.:
• Saturday, September 18th, at Sandpiper Park, 11830 Applolon Drive
• Saturday, September 25th, at Tuscany Park, 3460 Corvina Drive
• Saturday, October 2nd, at Mills Middle School track area, 10439 Coloma Road
• Saturday, October 9th, at Lincoln Village Community Park, 3480 Routier Road
“Our All-America City application demonstrated our great pride in our community, the diversity of our civic life, and the vigor and breadth of our community’s proactive and generous compassion,” said Rancho Cordova Mayor Ken Cooley.
Chandler’s All-America City Community Celebration has been scheduled for Wednesday, September 1, 2010, at the Chandler Center for the Arts. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. with entertainment and refreshments in the lobby, followed by a presentation in the main auditorium at 7 p.m.
The presentation will include a slide show and video highlighting the Chandler delegation’s trip in June to Kansas City, Mo., for the competition. The event will also honor the people, organizations, and corporate sponsors who supported the City’s award application.
The event had originally been scheduled for July 30, but was postponed due to the tragic death that week of Chandler Police Detective Carlos Ledesma.
“Our hearts were heavy that week and our full attention was on the families of the officers who were shot, and the men and women of our Police Department,” said Mayor Dunn. “Yet, even as we mourned, the tremendous outpouring of support from our residents was another measure of how special this community is, and how we come together in a crisis.”
Mayor Dunn once again noted that being named an All-America City during a period of economic struggle for the nation is a validation for how the community deals with challenges and finds solutions through innovation, collaboration and civic engagement.
“The entire community contributed to earning this recognition, and we can revel in this award for years. But it’s also important that we start to build on our success,” Dunn said. “Our event on September 1st is just one of many times in the coming months and years that Chandler residents will gather to celebrate our accomplishments and work toward a brighter future.”
Representatives from the three projects that were highlighted in the All-America City award presentation will have information booths at the celebration. Refreshments and drinks will be available thanks to generous donations from several local restaurants, including Serrano’s, Floridino’s and Shangri-La De Old Cathay. The Chandler Unified School District is donating the drinks and desserts.
For more information on Chandler’s All-America City award go to www.chandleraz.gov/allamericacity.
GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) – Officials in one North Carolina city are putting their paychecks on the line to make sure their community is known for a national honor.
Read the article here.
By Martine Wolfe-Miller
Mayor Billy Swails and Mount Pleasant Town Council celebrated last Saturday the Town’s new “All-America City” designation with a party at Memorial Waterfront Park. The majority of the 41-member delegation was present at the event and was recognized for helping secure the much-coveted national title. More than 600 people attended the event.
The Town held children activities and gave away 500 tee-shirts to the first-comers prior to the celebration. At 8:30 pm, the public was treated to several videos showcasing the winning trip to Kansas City, Missouri, and the celebration concluded with a movie in the park featuring “E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial.”
Mayor Swails stated, “The delegation members present here tonight, traveled to Kansas City last month to compete against 24 distinguished municipalities for the All-America City title. We are grateful for their dedication, professionalism and knowledge of the community. They did bring home the title! I would also like to thank the corporate sponsors who made this trip possible.”
“The All-America City Award places Mount Pleasant in a privileged category,” added Town Administrator Mac Burdette. “All-America Cities benefit by increasing community pride, networking with civic activists from across the country, and by gaining national recognition. The All-America City designation has also helped communities win grants and new resources and attract new employers.”
The All-America City Awards is America’s original and most prestigious community recognition program. It was founded 61 years ago by the National Civic League.
“These All-America Cities represent what is working in American communities,” said National Civic League President Gloria Rubio Cortés. “They are taking on challenging issues and finding innovative ways of creating a better future. We are inspired by their stories every year.”
By James Albright
Tonight the City of Acworth will hold the All America City Award Community Reception, Delegation Recognition, and Sponsor Recognition at Barber Middle School in Acworth, Georgia! The public has been invited to join us from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. for a reception that will include food provided by the local Chick-Fil-A and a scrolling slideshow of more than 400 pictures taken from the delegation’s journey to Kansas City, MO.
Following the reception, the public is invited to stay for a presentation including background on the trip to Kansas City, MO and a viewing of the delegation’s presentation to the judges.
After the presentation, the Mayor and Board of Aldermen will formally recognize each of the 41 members of the delegation and all of the sponsors that contributed to make the trip happen! More than $30,000 was raised for the effort!
This is only the beginning of the celebration. Banners and signs are in the process of being hung around town to highlight our community’s achievement! There is a HUGE buzz in the community about the award! In the next week alone presentations similar to tonight’s will be made to the Acworth Business Association, the Kennworth Kiwanis Club, the Cobb County Board of Commissioners, the Cobb County Board of Education, the North Cobb Rotary Club, and several others are in the work.
The City of Acworth wants to make sure that all of our partners from the business community, faith-based organizations, non-profit sector, and educational establishments know that this award is bigger than just the city, it’s a direct reflection of our entire community and its efforts to make Acworth one of the best communities in the United States to live, work, and play in.
James Albright is the director of the Acworth Parks and Recreation Department.