Submitted by Association of Washington Cities
The Association of Washington Cities (AWC), an Olympia-based association that provides services to Washington’s 281 cities and towns, announced the recipients of its annual Municipal Excellence Award. AWC will present the awards on Wednesday, June 21, at the AWC Annual Conference in Vancouver, Wash.
“Washington’s 281 cities and towns are innovating to deliver superior services to their communities,” said Peter B. King, AWC Chief Executive Officer. “These five projects and initiatives demonstrate innovation and excellence in city programs and services that improve the quality of life for residents.”
For the past 28 years, Municipal Excellence Awards have recognized innovative city projects. The competition applauds a community’s achievement and encourages other cities to develop similar programs. This year, 25 cities submitted 30 entries.
2017 AWC Municipal Excellence Award winners:
Community culture and art: Makers Square, Port Townsend
Makers Square at Fort Warden is an artistic hub where renovated historic structures showcase community creativity. Port Townsend received the award due to the extensive partnerships that they draw from, thoughtful and innovative work, and long-term benefits to the city, region, and state.
Economic development: Vancouver Business Assistance Program, Vancouver
The Vancouver Business Assistance Program has helped grow more than 500 small businesses over three years. Vancouver’s simple but profound rethinking of the permitting process (getting out into the community) is unique. Their willingness to negotiate sewer leases and creative thinking about food trucks could work well in many cities.
Public works: Lillian and James Walker Park Project, Bremerton
Bremerton worked with state and federal partners to use a public works stormwater improvement project to develop a neighborhood park that benefits a low-income area of the city. The park provides the community a gathering place with water access and commemorates two of the city’s most impactful residents.
Small city success: Reinvigorating government, Tenino
Tenino takes the award for this example of the positive change that can occur in a community when people step forward and provide leadership. After a several-year stretch of turbulence at city hall, Tenino worked to restore the city’s sense of self-worth. In this case, it was led by a new mayor who turned around not just the way city hall was operating, but the attitude of the residents.
Youth: Partnership with Tyee Educational Complex, SeaTac
SeaTac’s partnership with a local school helps provide young people with opportunities to learn about their community, cultivate an understanding of local municipal activities, engage in forward-thinking conversations, and build foundations for their career development. Additionally, the city benefits from showing young people that civil service employment is a realistic option for their futures.
AWC serves its members through advocacy, education and services. Founded in 1933, AWC is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan corporation that represents Washington’s cities and towns before the state legislature, the state executive branch, and with regulatory agencies. AWC also provides training, data and publications, and programs such as the AWC Employee Benefit Trust, AWC Risk Management Service Agency, AWC Workers’ Comp Retro, AWC Drug and Alcohol Consortium, and AWC GIS Consortium.