June 22-26, 2001
Marriott Renaissance

 
 
For Immediate Release
June 23, 2001

2001 City Livability Program Award Winners Announced
30 Mayors Honors for Leadership, Innovation in Creating Better, More Livable Communities

Detroit—City Livability Awards Program, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Waste Management. The awards will be announced in Detroit on June 23 at the 69th Annual Conference of Mayors.

The City Livability Awards will be announced and presented at the Conference of Mayors' Annual Luncheon by Mr. Maury Myers, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Waste Management, the world's largest provider of waste management services. Waste Management's support makes the City Livability Awards Program possible.

City Livability Awards recognize and honor mayors for exemplary leadership in developing and implementing programs that improve the quality of life in America's cities. The winning cities were determined by an independent panel of judges, selected by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

In addition to the awards won by Mayors Menino and Smith, Outstanding Achievement awards were received by Mayors Alan Autry of Fresno, California; Jeremy Harris of Honolulu, Hawaii; David Armstrong of Louisville, Kentucky; and Susan J. Bauman of Madison, Wisconsin for cities with populations of 100,000 or more. Outstanding Achievement Awards were also won by David Ragucci of Everett, Massachusetts; Sara B. Bost of Irvington, New Jersey; Bobby Sutton, Jr. of Marana, Arizona; and Bill Owen of Roswell, New Mexico for cities with populations of 100,000 or less.

Honorable Mention Citations were awarded, for cities with populations of 100,000 or greater, to Mayors William E. Ward of Chesapeake, Virginia; Mamie E. Locke of Hampton, Virginia; Beverly O'Neill of Long Beach, California; Vincent A. Cianci, Jr., of Providence, Rhode Island; and Rocky Anderson of Salt Lake City, Utah. Mayors James Reynolds of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma; Peter A. Clavelle of Burlington, Vermont; William Kleindienst of Palm Springs, California; Thomas P. Pico of Pleasanton, California; and Thomas Brown of St. Peters, Missouri received Honorable Mention Citations for cities with populations of 100,000 or less.

In addition to the City Livability Awards, Mr. Myers and Conference President, Boise Mayor H. Brent Coles will present the Richard J. Daley Award to Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer. The Daley Award is presented annually to the host mayor of the Annual Conference of Mayors in appreciation for the hospitality shown the conference participants.

"Waste Management is proud to sponsor the 2001 City Livability Awards Program," says Mr. Myers. ADuring the thirteen years we have sponsored the program, many mayors and cities have received well-deserved national recognition for their innovative programs which have enriched their cities and our nation.@

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors adds, "We at The U.S. Conference of Mayors have celebrated cities and their contribution to quality of life in America for over six decades. We are deeply grateful to Waste Management for their support of the City Livability Awards Program, and for the opportunity to showcase the talent and commitment of mayors and city governments."

"Our City Livability Awards Program gives us a chance to express our pride in their determined leadership and share in the celebration of their achievements," Mr. Cochran said.

CITIES GREATER THAN 100,000 IN POPULATION
Boston (MA) Receives First Place Awards with Outstanding Achievement Awards for Fresno, Honolulu, Louisville and Madison

BOSTON's "CRUSADE AGAINST CANCER" INCREASES AWARENESS ABOUT EARLY DETECTION, PREVENTION AND SCREENING, IMPROVES ACCESS TO TREATMENT

Boston's Crusade Against Cancer represents a mobilization of government, business, the medical community and the American Cancer Society under the leadership of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. Its mission is to make Boston the leading cancer fighting city in America through a comprehensive plan for prevention, detection and treatment of cancer.

The ultimate goal is to reduce the rate of cancer mortality in the city of Boston. To meet that goal, program officials developed long term goals and specific, achievable objectives for the city's Office of Cancer Prevention and Control. Long-term goals include: 1) Implement an effective cancer control media campaign; 2) Promote screening and early detection for all residents; 3) Create transportation services for citizens undergoing cancer treatment; 4) Partner with Boston Public Schools to reach young people; 5) Promote exercise and recreation as a way to prevent cancer; 6) Collaborate with businesses and community-based organizations to promote healthier lifestyles; and 7) Support cancer survivors.

The Crusade has made successful progress in all of these goals through an intensive, multi-faceted campaign emphasizing universal access to information and prevention activities.

"Mayor Menino is a driving force behind this initiative," said the panel of judges. "This is not a traditional mayoral focus or responsibility. Mayor Menino thought outside the box to find a way to improve the quality of life for his city's residents. Now that's a true example of mayoral leadership!"

TREE FRESNO PARTNERS WITH CITY TO MAKE FRESNO A GREENER, HEALTHIER, MORE LIVABLE CITY

From the founding of the City of Fresno in 1885 until the establishment of Tree Fresno 100 years later, relatively few shade trees were planted in what is known as the richest growing region in the world. Through Tree Fresno, a non-profit organization that partners with the city, Fresno laid a foundation that has enabled 1,500 volunteers to plant over 25,000 trees and nearly 30,000 shrubs throughout the community. This effort includes 1,700 trees on 50 school campuses through the Trees for Campuses and Kids program.

The city's accomplishments, under the leadership of Mayor Alan Autry, include a recent Guinness World Record attempt that utilized more than 3,000 volunteers to plant 4,433 trees along a new 8-mile linear park -- in just 3 2 hours! Virtually every neighborhood in the city has been touched by the "green thumb" of the "Tree People," as Tree Fresno volunteers have come to be known -- parks, median islands, schools, frontage roads, freeway interchanges, ponding basins, trails, and even canal banks.

"The before and after pictures say it all," said one City Livability judge. "Mayor Autry's major lesson for others is, when citizens have good ideas, get out of the way -- or better yet, get in front of them and clear the way. This effort is truly commendable."

HONOLULU's PUBLIC EDUCATION CAMPAIGN FIGHTS DETERIORATION OF PRISTINE INLAND AND COASTAL WATERS

In 1992, the City of Honolulu set out to develop and implement a public education program to address a major threat to Hawaii's economy and quality of life B the deterioration of pristine inland and coastal waters. The program's objectives were to create an understanding of the causes and consequences of the problem in an already over-communicated environment; change human behavior and business practices; and build enduring, supportive relationships with community and environmental organizations.

Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris, a marine biologist, was and continues to be a lead advocate and strong proponent of the program. The comprehensive public education effort targeted to residents and businesses covers a succession of tasks B from creating awareness and understanding of the problem, through eliciting participation in preventive and corrective actions, to gaining support and endorsement of the program and its activities. The success of the ongoing campaign is seen in a cleaner and healthier city and island.

"Mayor Harris led by example with his hands-on participation in numerous stream and beach cleanups," observed on City Livability judge. "This personal involvement made the difference in gaining and retaining volunteers and ensured this programs' success. A true leader!"

LOUISVILLE's HOUSING INITIATIVE STRENGTHENS DOWNTOWN AS THE REGION's PLACE TO LIVE, WORK AND PLAY

Mayor David L. Armstrong organized the Downtown Housing Initiative to address the lack of market-rate housing in downtown Louisville. The mayor's goal was to strengthen downtown as the region's place to live, work and play. The dilemma was that very few Louisville residents lived downtown. With only one-third of the downtown's 3,000 residential units being market-rate, the private housing market needed assistance in the form of gap financing to spur the creation of downtown housing and build a critical mass of market-rate units to strengthen the base.

The Downtown Housing Initiative has dedicated public funding and leveraged private funding to create a low-interest loan pool specifically earmarked for downtown housing. The Downtown Housing Fund has provided gap financing for four projects and a total of 259 units. The project has spurred the community's interest in living downtown and has begun to demonstrate a growing housing market in downtown Louisville. Occupancy and leasing in the new projects have exceeded expectations. People want to live in downtown Louisville and the excitement is creating new developer interest in downtown housing.

"This mayor successfully addressed a problem faced by a number of cities in this country," observed one City Livability judge. "Louisville's program combines both proactive leadership on the part of the mayor, and strong collaborative work between the private sector and non-profit development corporations. It is to be commended."

MADISON's TASK FORCE ON RACE RELATIONS FORMULATES COMPREHENSIVE PLAN TO FIGHT RACISM TO IMPROVE QUALITY OF LIFE

Madison has a long and proud history in support of equal opportunities. It was the first city in the nation to enact a fair housing ordinance in 1963. Significant demographic changes in the 1990's created tensions and accusations. Media reports in 1997 about possible racial profiling by the Madison Police Department and treatment of licensed established owned, operated or frequented by persons of color prompted Mayor Susan Bauman to act.

The mayor appointed a Task Force on Race Relations to review the traffic stops and alcohol licensing issues and to make recommendations to fight racism in the city. After a year the Task Force made numerous recommendations including changes in the Police Department; creation of Study Circles on Race; increased housing opportunities for low-income residents; increased economic development opportunities for youth integration into recreational and cultural activities; and improved opportunities for diverse people to share fun ad entertainment.

"Improving race relations is of tremendous importance to the mayor," noted one City Livability judge. "This is a nationwide problem and is a tough issue to address. Madison's effort is to be commended for its vision and leadership."

CITIES WITH LESS THAN 100,000 IN POPULATION
Natchez Receives First Place Award with Outstanding Achievement Awards for Everett, Irvington, Marana and Roswell

NATCHEZ FIGHTS URBAN BLIGHT WITH LARGE UNUSED MUNICIPAL PROPERTIES (LUMPS) PROGRAM

The Large Unused Municipal Properties (LUMPS) program was developed in 1993 to help address large unused dilapidated properties that were negatively impacting Natchez neighborhoods. Under the leadership of Mayor F.L. "Hank" Smith, vacant properties were targeted for redevelopment using combinations of grants, private developers, tax credits and other funding. The innovative LUMPS program has improved quality of life in Natchez by eliminating deteriorating structures that threaten the health, safety and welfare of the community.

The most significant achievement of the LUMPS program was the return of large abandoned and dilapidated properties into contributing facilities for the community. This program has provided: 1) a safe haven from domestic violence for battered women and children; 2) quality housing for single parents; 3) an incubator for small businesses; 4) a handicap accessible council chamber for public meetings; 5) a farmer's market; and 6) a new police facility at a fraction of the cost by converting a vacant building. The LUMPS program has transformed neighborhood eyesores into facilities which address community-wide issues and offer new programs and services that were not available before the program began.

"The LUMPS program is a true 'win-win-win' situation for the owner of the vacant property, the city, and the community, A noted the panel of judges. With the mayor's vision and support, this program truly did impact on the quality of life for Natchez residents."

EVERETT's PARLIN MEMORIAL LIBRARY CHESS PROGRAM ENGAGES YOUNG PEOPLE IN POSITIVE, CHALLENGING ACTIVITY

The Parlin Memorial Library Chess Program started with a simple but generous act of volunteering by one individual who offered to put on a single event, a tournament, which in its sixth year has become an integral part of the city's services to youth. With the strong support of Mayor David Ragucci, the expanded program engages Everett's young people in a positive, challenging activity throughout the year, culminating in a tournament held during Spring school vacation.

Everett is a community of modest means and a strong commitment to the betterment of the next generation. Mayor Ragucci has urged departments throughout the city to find productive, positive activities for children during the time when youth are at the greatest risk. Chess keeps youngsters more than busy. It trains the mind and encourages qualities that have been proven to give kids an edge in school, and prepares them for challenges they cannot yet imagine. It is an activity that is compatible both with the goals of the library, and with the vision of the community for the next generation.

"What began as a project of a chess enthusiast and teacher with a desire to provide a positive experience for local children has developed into a year-round program that is now an integral part of the Library's services to youth," observed one City Livability Judge. "Mayor Ragucci's call for quality youth programming has been a resounding success."

IRVINGTON ATTACKS HEART DISEASE WITH "HAVE A HEART" PROGRAM

When Irvington Mayor Sara B. Bost learned of disturbing statistics on the rise of heart disease, particularly in the African-American community, she decided to take action. As February is celebrated as both "American Heart" and "Black History" month, Mayor Bost developed a program to educate the residents of Irvington about the importance of both subjects.

A contest, dubbed "Have a Heart" as designed for 4th grade students and required students to answer questions about both heart disease and black history. The contest was open to all 4th grade students in Irvington, whether they attended public, private or parochial schools. The answers to the questions were posted prominently in stores of participating area merchants, who also donated prizes for the winner, including a grand prize family trip for four to Washington, D.C.

Mayor Bost also arranged activities such as blood pressure screening and lectures by prominent African Americans that were free and open to all of the residents of Irvington. The students and their families visited the revitalized business district, many for the first time, which increased traffic and improved business.

"I was overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of all who participated in this effort," said one City Livability Judge. "This city truly rallied around this program and this effort, under the strong leadership of Mayor Bost, to make a difference for the citizens of Irvington."

MARANA EMPLOYS AT-RISK YOUTH IN AFFORDABLE HOUSING CONSTRUCTION PROGRAM

Marana Construction Works! Is an affordable housing program utilizing an innovative alternative education program for high school aged youth. The program employs youth who have failed in school and encourages them in two ways; it provides carpentry and general job skills while requiring program participants to return to class.

Mayor Bobby Sutton, Jr., a strong advocate of youth, worked to form a joint venture with the Arizona Carpenters Union, the Marana Unified School District, Pima County's Community Services Department, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and United Housing of Catalina. These six entities are each responsible for a component of the program. The need for truly affordable housing is present in most communities and the Mayor felt that providing housing that low- and moderate-income families could afford was part of the city's mission. Having troubled youth perform all of the rough carpentry and some of the finished work also served to help these participants learn some job-related skills while returning to the classroom to receive their high school or GED diploma.

"Of the 53 students in this program over it's three year existence, 88 percent have graduated from high school or are still enrolled," observed one City Livability judge. "Now that's a successful program."

ROSWELL's DENTAL HEALTH VAN EXPANDS ACCESS TO DENTAL CARE FOR LOW-INCOME YOUTH

Access to health care has historically been a challenge for Roswell's poorer residents, especially its children. More than 5,000 children lost access to dental care/treatment when Medicaid reduced payments to dentists and increased paperwork. In response, Roswell Mayor Bill B. Owen began the marketing of what was to become known as the Roswell Community Dental Initiative. The "can-do" attitude of the mayor influenced a step-by-step approach to address the health care disparities with innovation and collaboration.

In June 1998 a "retired" recreational vehicle was purchased for $4,000 and moved to Roswell where barrio residents renovated it. The New Mexico Center joined the effort in 1999 by donating space in the center for a dental clinic. In May 2000, the University of New Mexico Community Voices Program joined, recruiting dentists to open the dental clinic, expanding the service to more children and adults.

From the ideas of a few dedicated individuals, the partnership has grown to over 20 agencies and service organizations leveraging over $300,000 in year 2000, creating a collaborative of dental services for children.

"Mayor Owen addressed an immediate challenge by developing a long-term strategy for the most needy of his city's residents," observed the panel of judges. "He was able to serve as the catalyst to bring diverse community groups together in the hopes of accomplishing a common goal, and he did so very successfully."

2001 CITY LIVABILITY PROGRAM AWARD HONORABLE MENTION WINNERS ANNOUNCED: CITIES WITH LESS THAN 100,000 IN POPULATION

BROKEN ARROW TOWN MEETINGS INSPIRE SUCCESSFUL BOND ISSUES TO FUND LOCAL COMMUNITY PROJECTS

Broken Arrow Mayor James Reynolds and city leaders, in response to a growing population whose sales tax dollars ended up in neighboring Tulsa, galvanized community participation in municipal government by holding Town Hall meetings and supporting bond proposals that include the creation of parks and roads, a community/teen center, a youth football field, and fire and police services.

Renewed media emphasis, including the creation of a town website and a government information channel on cable TV, encourages citizen involvement that led to the organization of committees that develop final bond proposal packages.

BURLINGTON LEGACY PROJECT PROVIDES VISION TOWARD THE FUTURE

Mayor Peter Clavelle integrated existing planning and development activities into a larger, long-term effort to ensure quality of life benefits for Burlington residents into the year 2030. Trying to involve all sectors of citizenry in reaching a common vision, the mayor distributed citywide thousands of survey forms and held dozens of focus groups to discuss specific areas of concern and opportunities.

The Burlington Legacy Project Action Plan addresses concerns including urban sprawl, tax revenue, civic engagement, youth involvement, city charter changes, neighborhood associations and open space protection plans. The Project serves as a basis for continuing community dialogue and action steps taken toward sustainable development.

PALM SPRINGS RUNS ON ELECTRIC BIKES, ALERNATIVE FUEL VEHICLES, AND BLUE SKIES

Mayor William Kleindienst and the city council are helping keep Palm Springs' skies blue and the air fresh by passing an alternative fuels resolution that worked led toward the replacement of the city vehicle fleet with alternate fuel vehicles and the widespread use of electric bicycles by city residents.

The initiative has also resulted in a new Ground Transportation Center at the airport which has substantially reduced emissions from gasoline-powered taxicabs, limousines and other commercial vehicles that pick up passengers from in front of the airport terminal. Instead of a queue of drivers constantly starting and stopping engines, an automated vehicle identification systems allows drivers not to lose their place in the fare line when they return from the center to their parked vehicles to pick up a fare. Mayor Kleindienst and city officials put the financial and philosophical muscle behind these successful endeavors.

PLEASANTON CULTURAL PLAN ADOPTS POET LAUREATE PROGRAM

Mayor Thomas Pico and the city of Pleasanton adopted a blueprint for the future development of the community's arts, cultural and heritage assets with the adoption of the Civic Arts Commission in 1996. Under the program's aegis, the Civic Arts Poet Laureate Program recently was established as a new element of the Department of Parks and Community Services to serve as a focal point for various segments of the community.

The Civic Arts Poet Laureate Program includes a teen poetry series, school classroom workshops, and Saturday morning poetry workshops and poetry reading series that demonstrate the power of the arts in the lives of the young, middle-aged and old in the community. A Poet Laureate and a Poet Laureate-elect are chosen to fill honorary terms and assist in making this a successful program that promotes the city's role as a nurturer and provider of recreational participatory opportunities.

ST. PETERS GOES WILD ABOUT RECYCLING

Mayor Thomas Brown leads the charge in saving the environment in St. Peters, MO, with the city's "Wild About Recycling" program. Joining with private partners in the community, the city's recycling program has adopted as a mascot Billie, a large, blue, female gorilla who enjoys making appearances around town while attaching blue Wild About Recycling stickers to trash cans. Recycling households are eligible to enter a contest in which prizes recently included an all-expense paid trip for four people to California.

The community-based recycling effort involves over 400 businesses and 53,000 residents with a recycling base that has jumped sixty percent. The promotional program is so successful it is purported that Mayor Brown keeps a photograph of Billie the gorilla in his wallet.

2001 CITY LIVABILITY PROGRAM AWARD HONORABLE MENTION WINNERS ANNOUNCED: CITIES WITH MORE THAN 100,000 IN POPULATION

MAYOR'S TASK FORCE ON FATHERHOOD IN CHESAPEAKE

Mayor William Ward has been instrumental in creating a Fatherhood Task Force that addresses the plight of children growing up in households in which their biological fathers do not reside. Reports conclude that these children face increased rates of poverty, violence, and emotional and behavioral problems.

The task force includes representatives from Chesapeake's business, city, and faith communities, as well as those from the legal system, school officials, and experts in the area of fatherhood including coaches and mentors. The task force continues research and is developing recommendations that will include increased programs and services to families affected by father absence. As honorary chairman for the National Fatherhood Initiative's 2001 Fourth Annual National Summit on Fatherhood held in Washington, D.C., Mayor Ward brings this issue to the forefront of cities' concerns.

311 CUSTOMER SERVICE IN CITY OF HAMPTON BIG HIT

Using software, scripting services, accurate information collection and determination, Mayor Mamie Locke and the city of Hampton created a customer call center that proves that customer service to constituents is a philosophy and culture, and not a buzzword.

The 311 Customer Call Center's provides citizens with one easy telephone number to access city services, giving customer satisfaction and convenience while enhancing the city's responsiveness to callers. Citizens can get information or report a problem 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and be helped by the first person they talk with. Hampton's 311 Customer Call Center is citizen service at its best.

LONG BEACH UPHOLDS HUMAN DIGNITY IN COMMUNITY

Long Beach Mayor Beverly O'Neill and the city council adopted a human dignity ordinance in order to deter hate crimes after reviewing statistics both nationally and locally. The ordinance in part addresses the need for courtesy and respect for all people "regardless of their racial background, the religion they practice, their sexual orientation, gender or disability status." In two years since the adoption of the program, hate crimes in Long Beach have declined dramatically.

Through the Human Dignity Program, Long Beach has committed networking resources including law enforcement, governmental institutions, the religious community, the educational community, grass roots organizations, community commissions and neighborhood associations to share resources and send a citywide message of tolerance.

PROVIDENCE REBIRTH WITH ARTS AND ENTERAINTMENT DISTRICT

Providence Mayor Vincent Cianci, Jr. led the push for incentives for artists and developers in a 15-block area named the Arts and Entertainment District, resulting in a union of art and commerce as the defining feature of a new Providence. Tax incentives have led to architectural renovation and the creation of performing spaces, studios, workshops, theaters, dance spaces and music venues.

The Arts and Entertainment District has enhanced the Providence economy, provided employment, aided the disadvantaged, and heightened collective self esteem. In particular, an arts installation of burning fires set on the Providence River, known as Waterfire Providence, draws tens of thousands to the downtown and has dramatically increased revenues for downtown businesses, restaurants, and other services. Mayor Cianci demonstrates that art can be an important tool in fueling urban renaissance.

RECLAIMING THE STREETS IN SALT LAKE CITY

In response to Salt Lake City Metro Area's rating as the twelfth most deadly area for pedestrians, Mayor Rocky Anderson has provided the impetus for passage of the Reclaiming the Streets Initiative with it's broad approaches to revitalizing Salt Lake's streets. The initiative focuses on pedestrian safety and traffic calming in a car-centered culture where drivers neglect to look for pedestrians in the street.

The Mayor's Pedestrian Safety Committee has recommended measures resulting in the creation of new crosswalks for Salt Lake's especially long streets, strong police enforcement of drivers failing to yield to pedestrians, the use of brightly colored flags at crosswalks, and the Pace Car Program.

The Pace Car Program recruits people to sign the Pace Car Pledge, which emphasizes the importance of slowing down, reducing car use, being courteous to other road users, including motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists.

Members of the 2001 City Livability panel of judges were Sam Kathryn Campana, former Mayor of Scottsdale, and a City Livability recipient herself; Clarence Harmon, former Mayor of St. Louis, and former Co-Chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Gun Violence Task Force; and Paul Helmke, former Mayor of Fort Wayne, and former President of The U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Waste Management, based in Houston, Texas, is the global leader in providing waste management services. In North America, the company operates throughout the United States, and in Canada, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, serving municipal, commercial, industrial and residential customers.

Contact:
Kathy Amoroso
Friday, June 22 - Tuesday, June 26, 2001
U.S. Conference of Mayors Staff Room
The Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center
313/568-8000
Craig Hardin, USCM, June 22-23
(202) 861-6727

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