The 2013 All-America City Awards will be held in Denver Friday through Sunday.
Platteville is one of 20 finalists and the only finalist from Wisconsin in the 2013 All-America City Awards, sponsored by the National Civic League.
Platteville’s presentation will be made by a contingent of 13, representing the City of Platteville, Platteville Area Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Program and UW–Platteville. The group also includes three veterans, two UW–Platteville students and one Platteville High School student.
No Wisconsin community has been named an All-America City since 2003.
“I think our chances are pretty good,” said Angie Donovan, the city’s communications specialist. “To be a finalist has placed Platteville on the map. If we win the award, I think it’s going to help us with economic development. It goes with national recognition.”
This year, the program is spotlighting community-wide initiatives that honor and benefit veterans and military families. The projects submitted for the awards were the Veterans Honor Roll in City Park, entrepreneurship efforts in the community, and eco-municipality efforts.
“We have a community that’s huge in collaboration — that’s one of the things the All America City committee has focused on,” said Donovan. “There’s a ton of collaboration in Platteville that you don’t see in other communities. That’s one of things they look for — inclusiveness.”
The other finalists are Birmingham, Ala.; Downey, Calif.; Brush, Colorado Springs and Montrose, Colo.; Fort Lauderdale, Miami Lakes and Sarasota County, Fla.; Peoria, Ill.; Owensboro, Ky.; Natchitoches, La.; Canton, N.Y.; Dunn, Garner and Thomasville, N.C.; Folly Beach, S.C.; The Colony, Texas; and Norfolk, Va. Dubuque, which was named an All-America City in 2007 and 2012, is also a finalist.
The awards are scheduled to be announced Sunday evening.
“Platteville is a great community to work and live in,” said Donovan. “We have the amenities of a large city with a small-town feel. You can walk down the street and be safe. And there is very little that you cannot get in Platteville.”
All-America City Awards recognize local action through community-based problem-solving and civic engagement efforts involving the public, private and nonprofit sectors. The designation gives the winning communities “bragging rights” than can help them recruit new businesses, increase jobs and obtain grants for community betterment projects in the future.
“All-America Cities set an example and a standard of excellence for local problem-solvers throughout the country,” said NCL President Gloria Rubio-Cortes. “This is an award that gives us hope, ideas and inspiration as we look for ways to address the difficult challenges we face as communities and as a nation.”
“AAC is more than an awards program,” said NCL Interim Chair Liz Hollander. “It gives communities a unique opportunity to celebrate their successes, but also to take a clear-eyed look at their civic capacities.”
Once described by pollster George Gallup as a “Nobel Prize” for civic accomplishment, the awards have been given to more than 600 communities since its inception in 1949. Some have won it as many as five and six times. Not just cities, but neighborhoods, towns, counties and metropolitan regions can apply for the prestigious award.
Previous All-America Cities in Wisconsin include Green Bay in 1964, La Crosse in 1965, Beloit in 1971, Madison in 1977 and 1978, Wausau in 1983 and 1984, Greater Green Bay in 1999, and Greater Racine in 2003.
To qualify for AAC, participants fill out applications listing three examples of successful community change. Applicants are encouraged to use the National Civic League’s “Civic Index,” a widely used tool for assessing community strengths and weaknesses. In their applications, they describe their capacities for civic engagement, collaboration; inclusiveness and innovation.
NCL will produce a report based on the finalists’ projects to inform communities seeking to improve their current initiatives or establish new ones benefiting veterans and military families.
Sponsors and partners of the 2013 All-America City Award include The Piton Foundation, Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation, PCL Construction Enterprises, Southwest Airlines, Greenberg Traurig, Merrick & Co., City of Aurora, Colo., BBVA Compass, City of Dublin, Calif., El Pomar Foundation, FirstBank, City of Lakewood, Colo., Alameda Gateway, RubinBrown, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Veterans of Foreign Wars. The Kettering Foundation is a research partner. The Colorado National Guard is a partner.
• Platteville is also competing in a YouTube contest for All America City videos, with the winning city determined by the most Likes. The video is at www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AW403-_y1I.