The 2010 City Showcase highlighted a collection of innovative city programs from across the country. Participating programs attended NLC's Congress of Cities and Exposition in Denver, Colo. and presented their innovations and accomplishments to conference attendees and to one another. Programs addressed issues important and relevant to cities, including civic engagement, community development, neighborhood revitalization and sustainability. Many participating programs were from the Denver metropolitan area or the state of Colorado. Brief video interviews of staff discussing their programs can be viewed below.
Resuscitation Choreography, Aurora, Colo.
EMS Bureau Manager Kevin Waters discusses how the Aurora Fire Department, Rural/Metro Ambulance, The Medical Center of Aurora, The University of Colorado Hospital and The Children's Hospital cooperated to to develop a process that emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive approach to treating cardiac arrest victims. Resuscitation Choreography begins the moment someone calls 911 with a medical emergency. Public safety communications operators facilitate the response and coach the caller to perform Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Rescuers arrive within eight minutes of the 911 call, continue patient care and transport the patient to one of the three hospitals in Aurora where physicians and nurses in the emergency room continue advanced life saving therapies.
Xeriscape Rebates, Aurora, Colo.
Water Conservation Specialist Zach Versluis discusses the City of Aurora Colorado's Xeriscape Rebates program, which offers rebates of up to $1.00 per square foot to replace high water consuming plant material with xeriscape. Xeriscaping reduces water consumption through planning and design, appropriate turf amount, soil preparation, mulching, efficient irrigation, water efficient plants and proper maintenance. Aurora Water maintains xeriscape demonstration gardens, leads free educational programs and offers professional landscape design services. With this program, the City of Aurora ensures a more sustainable future by lowering citizens' water bills, promoting positive interactions between the water department and its customers and increasing the efficiency of the water system.
Power2Charlotte, Charlotte, N.C.
Robert Phocas, Energy and Sustainability Manager for the City of Charlotte, discusses thePower2 program, which offers resources and services to help Charlotte residents, business owners and local government save energy, money and the environment. The citywide program promotes and encourages increased conservation and the use of clean, renewable energy. It also provides citizens with information so they can make decisions that reduce overall energy consumption. Funded by a grant from the US Department of Energy, the Power2Charlotte campaign is one of 17 City of Charlotte projects to receive funding through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
PinPoint-Public Works, Clemson, S.C.
Awards for Municipal Excellence Silver Winner - Population Category Under 50,000
The PinPoint - Public WorksTM technology was developed to streamline the way the Clemson Public Works department deals with debris pick-up. It allows the department to coordinate and map where debris is located before debris removal crews leave the department. Using the equipment included with the system, a driver can simply touch a button to report issues in categories ranging from piles of leaves, to overhanging limbs, to code violations. At the end of the day, all of the marked issues are uploaded to an administrator's computer and compiled into a list of work orders for city workers the next day.
Gordon Square Arts District, Cleveland, Ohio
Joy Roller, Executive Director of the Gordon Square Arts District, discusses a collaboration between the City of Cleveland and three non-profit organizations, Cleveland Public Theatre, Near West Theatre, and Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization. At the center of this partnership is a high priority role for the arts as a catalyst for economic development and job creation through preservation and renovation of historical buildings and complimentary new construction in the Gordon Square Arts District. The district's five major construction projects, targeted for completion by 2013, have generated hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in new tax revenue to the city, county and state.
Denver Metro Mayors Caucus, Colorado Regional Partnership
Catherine Marinelli discusses the Denver Metro Mayor's Caucus, a group that relies upon the cooperation and collaboration of the mayors of 39 Denver area municipalities to address the Denver region's complex issues. The Caucus provides a forum to discuss common issues and multi-jurisdictional challenges, and serves as a partner and sounding board for leaders from other sectors. The Caucus and its staff develop consensus positions on key issues and advocate their adoption; monitor policy at the local, regional, state and federal levels; inform discussions and partner with private, non-profit and public sectors to implement change; provide a forum for the resolution of differences among jurisdictions and provide opportunities for enhancing personal relationships and building trust among the region's municipalities.
Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant, Colorado Springs, Colo.
The City of Colorado Springs is applying a $3.6M Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) to five activities: Municipal facility energy efficiency retrofits, an LED streetlight project, affordable housing energy efficiency windows and doors, a greenhouse gas inventory, and a pilot project with higher education institutions to perform commercial audit & retrofits. The higher education partnership combines the expertise of an engineering firm with the supervised paid help of students to provide an introduction to "green jobs." The partnership is anticipated to result in a 4,510 metric ton reduction in local greenhouse gas emissions over ten years.
The City of Colorado Springs Engineering Division, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Andrew Richter, Project Manager for the City of Colorado Springs Asset Management System and Jeff Besse, Storm Water Specialist for the City of Colorado Springs, discuss the city's Engineering Division. City Engineering focuses on gaining efficiencies with the Infrastructure Asset Management System (IAMS). This system electronically tracks citizen requests, work orders, maintenance history and inspections for assets, such as signs, markings and bridges. Knowing the true condition of the city's assets helps engineers manage and budget more accurately for the future of the city. Public education and outreach is an essential part of the city's Federally-Mandated Municipal Stormwater Discharge Permit (MSDP). Through this program, the city promotes behavioral change and public involvement by providing presentations, informational literature, and training to help protect local water quality.
Cupertino Block Leaders, Cupertino, Calif.
Laura D. Lee, Community Relations Coordinator for the City of Cupertino, Calif., discusses the Cupertino Block Leader program, a program that encourages residents to become more engaged with their neighbors and their city. Block leaders get to know their neighbors, participate in emergency response training, and establish neighborhood watch programs. Block leaders meet quarterly for information sharing and training. Given Cupertino's extensive diversity, the program brings neighbors from very different cultures together to address issues of common interest. Currently, there are over 350 active block leaders covering 25% of the city.
B-Cycle, Denver, Colo.
Brent Tongco discusses Denver B-Cycle, the first city-wide, large-scale bike sharing program in the United States. The program has 500 bikes and 50 stations located throughout Denver. Denver B-Cycle is the outcome of 18 months of collaboration between Denver Bike Sharing and the Office of the Mayor, Greenprint Denver, Office of Economic Development, City Attorney's Office, Public Works, Community Planning Department, Environmental Health, Parks and Recreation, Theatres and Arenas, the Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Committee, Downtown Denver Partnership, the Regional Transportation District, Visit Denver, BikeDenver, Bicycle Colorado and other members of the community.
Denver's New Zoning Code, Denver, Colo.
Steve Nalley, Associate City Planner in Denver, Colo., discusses Denver's new zoning code, adopted in June 2010. The new code represents a new form-based and context based approach to zoning, compared with the old code. The update involved re-mapping the zoning for most of the city to Denver's new zoning districts. The adoption of the code was the culmination of a 5 year process that involved extensive citizen involvement and input from the Denver City Council, which adopted the new code unanimously.
Denver Office of Cultural Affairs, Denver, Colo.
Jan Brennan discusses the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs, which advances the arts and culture in Denver by supporting and providing opportunities for residents and visitors to participate in rich cultural activities. The programs include public art, public concerts and events and Create Denver, which fosters creative innovation and entrepreneurship.
Denver's Office of Strategic Partnerships, Denver, Colo.
Dace West discusses the Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships (DOSP), which was created in January 2004 by Mayor Hickenlooper to serve as a liaison between the City of Denver and the nonprofit sector. DOSP believes that by working collectively, the public and nonprofit sectors can be even more efficient and effective in strengthening Denver's communities.
Denver's Road Home, Denver, Colo.
Five years into the Denver's 10-year plan to end homelessness, Denver's Road Home has helped the city become better at counting the homeless, targeting homeless services, and maximizing impact of the funds allocates via partnerships with the homeless providers in Denver. The program is extending its focus on sustainability and regional development. In the face of new economic challenges, the program remains committed to ensuring that every man, woman, and child has a safe alternative to living life on the streets.
Greenprint Denver, Denver, Colo.
Greenprint Denver provides leadership and solutions to ensure a prosperous community where people and nature thrive. Guiding principles include: communicate sustainability as a public value and expand the concept of the city as a steward of public resources; support sustainability as a core business value to improve efficiencies in resource use, reduce environmental impact; incorporate "triple bottom line" analysis; set clear metrics of success and report on progress moving forward; pursue activities that support environmental equity and health for all citizens; and partner with community organizations, cultural institutions and businesses to achieve broad impact.
Doin' The Right Things, Durango, Colo.
TheCity of Durango, Colo. wanted to make it easier for the community to "do the right things" for the environment., so it developed consumer-driven niche websites to complement the government all-inclusive site. Sites like getarounddurango.com, for transportation and multi-modal resources; durangorecyles.com, for recycling information and encouragement; and dotherightthings.net link community members to information about healthy living, transportation, water conservation, recycling, and more. These websites create a culture of "doing the right things," which promotes Durango as an attractive place to live, work, and play.
Clear Vision Civic Engagement, Eau Claire, Wisc.
Mike Huggins, City Manager for the City of Eau Claire, Wisc., discusses Clear Vision Eau Claire, a citizen-led visioning and community organizing project. Using a civic organizing model, the Clear Vision project identified six long-term community performance areas and 125 action strategies, all linked by a concept of civic engagement that trains citizens in problem-solving skills and developed public leadership and collaboration among community governments, organizations, and institutions.
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Project, Grand Junction, Colo.
Kathy Portner, Neighborhood Services Manager for the City of Grand Junction, Colo., discusses the city's Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Project. This project is the first of its kind in the nation to capture excess digester gas from the city's wastewater treatment plant and convert it into compressed natural gas to be utilized as a vehicle fuel for the city's fleet. Implementation of the project is supported by state and federal grants, and produces nearly 400 gallons of CNG daily, at a price of only $1.10 per gallon. Environmental benefits include displacing more than 3 million tons of carbon emissions annually. The CNG project is an essential step towards the comprehensive utilization of natural gas as a vehicle fuel, which supports the economic development of Western Colorado.
Grand Junction's Main Street - A Cultural/Artistic Icon, Grand Junction, Colo.
Debbie Kovalik discusses Grand Junction, Colorado's Main Street. In 1963 "Operation Foresight" created a serpentine park-lined promenade skirted by quaint shops, galleries, and restaurants in downtown Grand Junction. During a downturn in the economy in 1984, the "Art on the Corner" project attracted businesses, visitors, and residents by adding over 100 pieces of sculptured art along Main Street. Forty-seven years after the initial design, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and the City of Grand Junction are replacing aging infrastructure, enhancing the urban forest, improving pedestrian safety, and expanding public spaces. When completed, the "Downtown Uplift" will provide additional areas to expand "Art on the Corner" exhibits. Capital funding is provided by the DDA through district-generated grants.
Jumpstart Jackson Community Wellness Initiative, Jackson, Tenn.
Sandra MacDiarmid, Superintendent of the Recreation and Parks Department, and Annette Wilson, School Health Administrator in Jackson, Tenn., discuss Jumpstart Jackson. Jumpstart Jackson is a community health/wellness project initiated by the City of Jackson, the Jackson Recreation & Parks Department, and the Jackson-Madison County School System to improve the opportunities for improved health, wellness and physical fitness in the community.
Higher Education Initiative, Kingsport, Tenn.
Awards for Municipal Excellence Gold Winner - Population Category Under 50,000
With drastic cuts to manufacturing jobs, a stagnant local housing market, and non-existent retail expansion, the City of Kingsport renewed its focus on education to spur economic development. As a result, the Educate and Grow scholarship program, funded by the City, provided up to four semesters at Northeast State Community College (NeSCC) at no cost to all city high school graduates who met the college's entrance requirements. This program is now available in all five counties of the NeSCC service area. The city also constructed a new NeSCC downtown satellite location, the Regional Center for Applied Technology (RCAT) where nearly 1,600 students attend classes.
Denver-Lakewood West Corridor TOD Collaborative, Lakewood, Colo.
The West Corridor Light Rail is the first of nine FASTracks lines to be under construction and will open in 2013. Its path threads through historic residential communities and connects major employment centers in downtown Denver, the Federal Center, Lakewood and Golden. The Denver-Lakewood West Corridor TOD Collaborative is a unique combined effort of the cities of Denver and Lakewood, their two respective Housing Authorities, the federal government's General Services Administration, and the Regional Transportation District to plan Transit Oriented Development comprehensively to create livable communities with affordable housing and connectivity to employment, health care, and education, as well as retail, recreational, and cultural opportunities.
Littleton Immigrant Resources Center, Littleton, Colo.
Alejandra Harguth, Program Director for the Littleton Immigrant Resources Center (LIRC), discusses the services the program provides to Littleton's immigrant community. The One-Stop Information Center provides area immigrants with information on employment, health, recreation, education, housing, legal issues, transportation, emergency needs and more. The LIRC also encourages two-way integration by matching newcomers with community volunteers for friendship and cultural exchange, and it encourages citizenship and civic community involvement by coordinating citizenship mentoring programs, sponsoring English as a Second Language (ESL) classes and offering opportunities to participate in local activities and events.
Technology and Telecommunications in Your City, Longmont, Colo.
Deborah Cameron discusses Longmont, Colorado's Technology and Telecommunications in Your City program. Longmont is a hotbed of telecommunications innovation and technology. In 1997, the City-owned electric utility encircled Longmont with an 18-mile fiber ring to increase capacity of communication between substations, other city infrastructure and to provide telecommunication services to residents. The city leveraged the fiber investment with a private wireless partner to provide wifi access anywhere in Longmont. In return, the city uses the wifi connection for fire, police, and building inspection services. In addition, the City has partnered with a private wifi provider to provide computers and internet access to hundreds of children in the community who are on the free or reduced price lunch program.
Terminal Island Renewable Energy (T.I.R.E.) Project, Los Angeles, Calif.
Awards for Municipal Excellence Silver Winner - Population Category Over 500,000
The Terminal Island Renewable Energy (T.I.R.E.) Project is the nation's first and only full scale application of deep well injection technology to convert wastewater residual solids, or biosolids, into green power while simultaneously sequestering greenhouse gases. The project is a five-year demonstration project and has been in operation for over 20 months. So far, over 50 million gallons of bio-slurry, which includes wastewater by-products such as brine, treated effluent, digested sludge, and biosolids, have been successfully injected. A monitoring system provides real-time data on the subsurface activities, including seismic, to a Technical Advisory Committee for evaluation.
Milwaukee Downtown, Business Improvement District #21, Milwaukee, Wisc.
The Milwaukee Downtown Business Improvement District #21 is an organization established in 1998 to support the interests of the downtown Milwaukee business community in partnership with the City of Milwaukee. Created through private sector leadership, Milwaukee Downtown is a management district organization that oversees 120 square blocks representing approximately 400 property owners in the center of downtown Milwaukee. The organization funds specific initiatives aimed at creating a clean, safe, and friendly downtown.
North Charleston's Sustainable Urban Revitalization, North Charleston, S.C.
Awards for Municipal Excellence Silver Winner - Population Category 50,001-150,000
In 1996, the City of North Charleston formally adopted a Comprehensive Plan envisioning a sustainable, community-driven effort combining private, public, and non-governmental organizational support to revitalize a city that was falling into a pattern of socio-economic blight. The plan outlined existing conditions, while identifying future needs, including generating employment, increasing homeownership, implementing green building practices through private development, improving stormwater management to preserve ecosystems, and improving streetscapes.
The Financial Empowerment Center Initiative, New York, N.Y.
Awards for Municipal Excellence Gold Winner - Population Category Over 500,000
The Financial Empowerment Center Initiative delivers free, confidential, one-on-one financial counseling to consumers struggling with their finances. The Initiative now includes 5 Centers which are embedded into existing human services programs, such as homelessness prevention, workforce development, and foreclosure prevention. The financial counselors work with clients on a range of financial needs such as money management, budgeting, credit and debt assistance, and accessing safe and af¬fordable financial products. Fundamental to the model is the integration of safe financial products that enable the consumer to enter the financial mainstream and start to save and build assets.
No Longer Lost in Translation: Strengthening Ties with the Hispanic Community, Newport News, V.A.
Awards for Municipal Excellence Gold Winner - Population Category 150,001-500,000
In response to the increasing victimization of Hispanics in Newport News, the Newport News Police Department implemented a Hispanic outreach initiative. This effort was expanded to include the City Manager, a host of city and community agencies, and the Hispanic Advisory Committee to the City Manager (HAC). A detailed strategic plan outlined several goals, including holding a public listening forum, developing informational tools, and partnering with community groups and public agencies to break down language and cultural barriers and effectively serve the Hispanic Community.
Philadelphia's Green City, Clean Waters Plan, Philadelphia, Penn.
Tiffany Ledesma Groll, Outreach Specialst and Program Coordinator for Philadelphia's Green City, Clean Waters plan discusses how the plan will invest nearly $2.0 billion over the next 25 years to significantly reduce combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and create clean, accessible and safe waterways. Rather than sinking funds underground to increase sewer system capacity by building tanks and tunnels, the program will "surface" these dollars by promoting rainwater conservation, source control, and green infrastructure, thereby creating a more sustainable city. Efforts also include creating incentives for private and public landowners to green their properties; setting new regulations for development and new zoning and building codes; creating an environmental excitement and knowledge among the citizenry, and setting behavior patterns by charging the true cost of water service.
Waste Cooking Oil to Biodiesel, Santa Monica, Calif.
Wes Thompson, Recycle Coordinator for the City of Santa Monica, Calif. discusses the city's conversion of waste cooking oil to biodiesel. The City of Santa Monica Resource, Recovery, and Recycling Division partnered with an outside vendor, Geogreen, to collect and process waste cooking oil into biodiesel. The waste oil is collected and processed for free by Geogreen, which also provides tamper-proof collection containers.
Northeast Neighborhood Revitalization, South Bend, Ind.
Awards for Municipal Excellence Gold Winner - Population Category 50,001-150,000
The Northeast Neighborhood revitalization is an effort by the City of South Bend, neighborhood residents and major institutions like the University of Notre Dame to redevelop the area near campus. Key partners formed the Northeast Neighborhood Revitalization Organization, with a board represented equally by institutional funders and neighborhood residents. Development projects include a new $215-million mixed-use development; a new neighborhood of 60 low-to-moderate-income and market-rate homes; thirty new infill housing units; Innovation Park, a state-certified technology park; and redevelopment of a former hospital.