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All-America City Award

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Longmont Wins 2018 All-America City Award

AAC Longmont-Colorado-we-wonThe City of Longmont was awarded the prestigious All-America City Award from the National Civic League (NCL) on June 24, 2018. The award recognizes Longmont for identifying its most challenging issues and working collaboratively with the community to create innovative and effective problem-solving strategies.

Longmont is one of only ten cities nationwide to receive this prestigious award. This is the second time Longmont has received this designation, previously winning the award in 2006.

“This award affirms Longmont’s commitment to building a vibrant community,” Longmont Mayor Brian Bagley said. “We acknowledge and embrace the societal challenges in our City and work collaboratively with community members to make positive change.”

Longmont was judged on three specific projects showing how the community leverages civic engagement, collaboration, inclusiveness, and innovation to successfully address local issues:

1. Supporting Action for Mental Health (SAM)

SAM is the collaborative effort of local community groups and organizations, faith communities, residents, and local government to raise awareness and address mental health issues in Longmont.

2. Connecting a Community

NextLight is a community-owned broadband service from Longmont Power & Communications that provides internet services to businesses and residents citywide. Most home users receive their internet without a contract or data cap at the cost of $49.95 per month. In 2018, PC Magazine has named NextLight the fastest ISP in the nation. NextLight promised to make the community more attractive to businesses, while also providing an invaluable resource for the school district. The school district is nationally recognized for excellence in technology and engagement. Going forward, the City and schools will continue to work together on technology through the Learning Technology Plan. This plan has given students the opportunity to work on projects such as app development, robotics, and design thinking.

3. An Engaged Community Deals with Disaster

In 2013, the City of Longmont experienced “flooding of biblical proportions” when the average annual rainfall amount fell in just four days. The flooding proved to be both a test and an opportunity. During cleanup, Longmont realized there was an opportunity to rebuild a more sustainable community by developing more economically diverse housing, increasing social capital for vulnerable populations, and modifying infrastructure. Also during cleanup, Longmont worked together with other affected communities in the area to pool resources. This effort was the formation of the Boulder County Collaborative which led to the development of more affordable housing and the building of a culture of resilience.

“Like many local communities across the nation, Longmont is showing that important and innovative work to address critical issues still takes place at the local level,” NCL president Doug Linkhart said. “The local level stands in contrast to the federal level, which has seen many years of conflict and slow progress on many of the nation’s toughest challenges.”

The All-America City (AAC) Award program is the nation's oldest community recognition effort. Founded in 1949 by then National Civic League (NCL) board chair George Gallup Sr., the AAC Award recognizes communities of all sizes –including neighborhoods, towns, cities, counties and regions– who have made major progress in meeting their most important needs.

In addition to Longmont, nine other cities received the All-America designation in 2018:

  • Mount Pleasant, SC
  • Decatur, GA
  • Kershaw County, SC
  • El Paso, TX
  • Springdale, AR
  • Stockton, CA
  • Charlotte, NC
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Las Vegas, NV

The All-America Cities competition was held June 24, 2018 in Denver with 18 cities competing from across the country. Longmont sent a delegation of 51 staff and community members to make the official presentation and to answer questions. In addition to the official presentation, Longmont senior dancers “Bailes de mi Tierra” participated in the cultural showcase for the All-America Cities conference.

The award is named “All-America” to showcase problem solving and solutions in communities rather than “All-American,” which might simply demonstrate patriotism and appearance.

“We are honored to have been selected for this award, and congratulate our fellow competitors,” said Harold Dominguez, Longmont City Manager. “Being part of this outstanding lineup of cities is an inspiration to keep doing the work we are doing within our community, and to continue to build on our inclusive, collaborative culture.”

The National Civic League is headquartered in Denver.

The City of Longmont won the All-America City award in 2006 after competing with cities across the country. For more information about the All-America City award, visit the National Civic League at https://www.nationalcivicleague.org/america-city-award/.

 

Excerpt about our All-America City Application taken from the National Civic League website. Visit https://www.nationalcivicleague.org/2018-all-america-city-finalist-longmont-co/ for more information.

Click to view Longmont's All-America City Application

City of Longmont All-America City Application Summary

Longmont leaders knew, from decades of community observation, they had to do more to intentionally include its full diversity of residents.

City staff and community members practicing their presentaitonPartnering with community groups, the City of Longmont makes it easier for residents to have a place at the table by meeting them where they are, whether it’s at the El Comité- a grassroots organization dedicated to providing advocacy and social services for Latinos, the local Peruvian festival, a teen mom support group, or various Chamber of Commerce events.

This inclusive engagement has led to several community successes, among them:

  • bringing a community college to Longmont,
  • establishing a community theater,
  • creating a more visually appealing downtown, and
  • building an educational center for teens who perform poorly in traditional school settings.

Other successes include a 2005 plan update, “Focus on Longmont,” that led to tremendous improvements in inclusion and support for minority populations and youth, and the newly completed comprehensive city plan, “Envision Longmont,” which featured 14 months of community input.


Three project examples showing how this community leverages civic engagement, collaboration, inclusiveness and innovation to successfully address local issues:

1.) Supporting Action for Mental Health
In response to local concerns about mental health care, 50 community members formed a coalition called Supporting Action for Mental Health (SAM). SAM is the collaborative effort of local community groups and organizations, faith communities, residents, and local government to raise awareness and address mental health issues in Longmont.

Since its inception, SAM has organized resource fairs and facilitated more than ten Community Conversations to identify, and take steps to remedy, mental health issues facing the community. After receiving a $200,000 grant from the Colorado Health Foundation, SAM became a formal project directed together by The City of Longmont, Mental Health Partners, and Longmont United Hospital. SAM has used these resources to establish:

  • programming in mental health first aid;
  • conversations on mental health;
  • an anti-stigma campaign; and
  • additional educational resources.

With a Latino Outreach team of individuals from the youth center, senior center, family resource center, victim advocates, the school district, and an organization serving individuals with disabilities, SAM has actively worked to include monolingual Spanish-speaking members of the community. They are currently working on improving their programming to be more inclusive to LGBTQ+ members of the community as well.

More information:

 

2.) Connecting a Community
NextLight is a community-owned broadband service from Longmont Power & Communications that provides internet services to businesses and residents citywide. Most home users receive their internet without a contract or data cap at the cost of $49.95 per month. This rate is believed to be the best price for an un-bundled connection in the country.

Longmont has long provided its own core utilities and services. The city council had approved plans for a fiber-optic cable as early as 1997 but faced a number of restrictions from the state legislature. A caveat in the law stated that the restrictions could be set aside by a community vote. The proposal for NextLight promised to make the community more attractive to businesses, while also providing an invaluable resource for the school district. The vote passed easily with a flood of enthusiasm. In its first year, over 50% of the community signed up for service.

NextLight has become the nationwide standard of community broadband services. The school district is nationally recognized for excellence in technology and engagement, and Longmont was named as having the fastest internet speeds in the U.S. by PC Magazine in 2017. Going forward, the City and schools will continue to work together on technology through the Learning Technology Plan. This plan has given students the opportunity to work on projects such as app development, robotics, and design thinking.

More information: NextLight

3.) An Engaged Community Deals with Disaster
In 2013, the City of Longmont experienced “flooding of biblical proportions” when the average annual rainfall amount fell in just four days. A few years before the flood, city engineers learned of changes made to the local floodplain maps maintained by FEMA. Although at the time, flooding seemed highly unlikely, city officials decided to use this latest information to update their emergency plans. Special efforts were taken to reach vulnerable populations living in mobile home parks located near the creek, through a series of neighborhood meetings and door-to-door visits conducted in both English and Spanish.

The flooding of 2013 proved to be both a test and an opportunity. The flooding was devastating, but the city was prepared. The Emergency Operations Center distributed information to residents through websites, social media, and reverse 911 notifications. Emergency personnel and staff worked around the clock responding to phone calls and providing real-time updates on evacuation areas and shelter locations.

The city was fortunate to suffer no loss of life from the catastrophic event, although many residents were displaced. During cleanup, Longmont realized there was an opportunity to rebuild a more sustainable community by developing more economically diverse housing, increasing social capital for vulnerable populations, and modifying infrastructure.

Also during cleanup, Longmont worked together with other affected communities in the area to pool resources. This effort was the formation of the Boulder County Collaborative which led to the development of more affordable housing and the building of a culture of resilience.

More information: Resilient St. Vrain

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