award1OWENSBORO, Ky. (7/15/13) – “This is an award that Owensboro has not received in 60 years,” that’s according to Mayor Ron Payne at the All-American city celebration Friday night at Smothers Park.

 In conjunction with Friday After Five, the city provided free ice cream, t-shirts, and music to celebrate the city’s latest prestigious award. Smothers Park’s main fountain was activated a total of four times as it shot water over 60 feet high.

“The city of Owensboro is reaching new heights, and we’re gonna make that fountain do it, too,” said Payne.

Last month, the American Civic League held the All- American City Awards in Denver, Colo., and Owensboro was one of 10 communities to receive the award.

According to the All-American City Award website, The National Civic League recognizes ten communities each year for outstanding civic accomplishments. To win, each community must demonstrate innovation, inclusiveness, civic engagement, and cross sector collaboration by describing successful efforts to address pressing local challenges.

More than 600 communities have won the award, some as many as five times. All-America Cities have shown the ability to innovate in such areas as job creation, neighborhood revitalization, crime reduction, new housing for low income people, improving education, and engaging youth.

The award program was founded in 1949 when a newspaper reporter approached the National Civic League (then known as the National Municipal League) with the idea of naming the 10 best governed cities each year. Instead, the league created a program that recognized cities for civic achievements.

Today the award competition is open to neighborhoods, towns, cities, counties and metropolitan regions. In their applications, AAC finalists briefly tell their community stories, list two of their most pressing challenges and three outstanding community projects. The award program culminates in a three-day event where community delegations tell their stories of successful change to a national jury of business, nonprofit, and local government experts. All-America Cities benefit by increasing community pride, networking with civic activists from across the country and gaining national recognition. The AAC designation has helped communities win grants and new resources and attract new employers.

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Alex Reid
SurfKY News
Photos provided by Alex Reid

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