Platteville is one of 20 finalists in the 2013 All-America City Awards.
The National Civic League has invited 20 communities, including representatives from Platteville and Dubuque, to the annual All-America City Awards competition in Denver June 14–16.
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.
Platteville is the only Wisconsin city to reach the 2013 finals. Dubuque was named an All-America City in 2007 and 2012.
This year, the program is spotlighting community-wide initiatives that honor and benefit veterans and military families. Next year, the 65th anniversary of the program, the focus will be on communities that foster healthier lifestyles for their residents.
“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.”
A committee composed of Kathy Kopp, executive director of the Platteville Area Chamber of Commerce; Jack Luedtke, executive director of the Platteville Main Street Program; Melissa Pahl, executive director of the Platteville Area Industrial Development Corp.; Ed White, executive director of the Platteville Business Incubator, Inc.; Rose Smyrski, Special Assistant to the Chancellor at UW–Platteville; City Manager Larry Bierke; and Angie Donovan, Communications Specialist for the City of Platteville, assembled the applications and determined which three projects best exemplified Platteville.
“We are honored to be a finalist community for this award,” said Bierke. “Platteville should be proud of all the accomplishments we have, as it was a challenge to narrow down our top three projects. All the people here and all the things we do are what makes our community great.”
The projects submitted for the awards were the Veterans Honor Roll in City Park, entrepreneurship efforts in the community, and eco-municipality efforts.
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.
“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.
The 2012 All-America Cities are San Francisco; Tahoe/Truckee, Calif.; the Quad Cities; Dubuque; Marshalltown, Iowa; Louisville; Baltimore; Pittsfield and Springfield, Mass.; Southern Pines, N.C.; Providence, R.I.; San Antonio; Roanoke, Va.; and Seattle and South King County cities, Wash.
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.