Source: The below is an abbreviated version of the media release distributed by the City of Fort Lauderdale on June 16, 2014
Fort Lauderdale Named All-American City
The City of Fort Lauderdale has captured the prestigious All-America City Award! The official announcement honoring Fort Lauderdale with the 2014 national title was made last night by the National Civic League at its annual conference in Denver, Colorado. Established in 1949, the All-America City Award recognizes cities, counties, towns, neighborhoods, and metropolitan areas across the country for exemplary community-based problem solving and civic engagement efforts that involve public, private, and non-profit entities.
“We are honored to be one of only 10 communities nationwide selected as an All-America City,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor John P. “Jack” Seiler. “Our Citywide Vision and Strategic Plan reflect our commitment to working in partnership with our neighbors to address challenges and develop transformative solutions to move our City forward. Through bold ideas, innovative partnerships, and passionate civic engagement, we are building community, enhancing quality of life, and making Fort Lauderdale an outstanding place to live, work, play, visit, and raise a family. I would like to congratulate our staff, our neighbors, and all of our community builders on this tremendous accomplishment!”
Additional Communities Recognized as All-American Cities
Joining Fort Lauderdale as a 2014 All-America City are nine other communities from across the United States:Montgomery, Alabama; San Pablo, California; Brush, Colorado; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Chelsea, Massachusetts; Independence, Oregon; Brownsville, Texas; Hampton, Virginia; and Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
The Selection Process
For two days, groups of civic leaders and community activists from 25 cities met in Denver to present their stories of positive change to a jury of civic experts and to network and exchange ideas and insights.
The National Civic League commended Fort Lauderdale for numerous projects that demonstrate outstanding civic engagement, cross sector collaboration, inclusiveness, and innovation. An array of Parks and Recreation programs that promote healthy active lifestyles were recognized including: Wise Kids, the Presidential Challenge, First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign, the Fit Kidz Club, and the City’s after-school programs and youth camps.
Three major initiatives in Fort Lauderdale that were highlighted as examples of positive meaningful change:
- The Dillard Innovation Zone Promise Neighborhood, an initiative of the Broward Regional Health Planning Council (BRHPC), that is cultivating community and business collaborations to support school improvement, health service interventions, mentoring, enhanced classroom technology, reading and literacy initiatives at Dillard Elementary School and initiating innovative solutions to reinvigorate a neighborhood in need.
- The redevelopment of Flagler Village, a downtown neighborhood that has been transformed from a desolate and abandoned warehouse district into a vibrant center for arts and culture. The revitalized area features unique businesses including a master puppeteer, media and photography company, event planning and marketing business, advertising agency, theatre troupe, and an innovative landscape architecture firm. Flagler Village’s popular monthly Art Walks are a celebration of the neighborhood’s innovation, vision and urban lifestyle, as well as a strong sign of the area’s rebirth.
- Northwest Gardens, a neighborhood development located in the City’s Northwest Community Redevelopment Area, is a model affordable housing project that showcases social, environmental, health, engagement, and economic sustainability. Spearheaded by the City of Fort Lauderdale Housing Authority in partnership with community members, private sector developers, and non-profit organizations, Northwest Gardens was the first LEED-ND Certified Neighborhood in Florida. The project promotes healthy living by providing residents with places to walk and bike safely, community gardens and fruit trees, energy efficient housing, solar streetlights, self-sufficiency training, job training, and cultural activities.
Fort Lauderdale was also lauded for its Complete Streets policy, which was recently ranked #1 in Florida and #3 in the nation; a wheelchair tennis program at George English Park; a walking club at Carter Park; and the hundreds of sports, programs, and community activities that have taken place during the past year at the new Orange Bowl Field at Carter Park.
Additional Honors and Awards for the City of Fort Lauderdale include:
“Top 10 Best Downtowns in 2014” – Livability.com
“Top 10 Most Exciting Cities in America” – Movoto National Real Estate
“Top 10 Greenest Mid-Sized Cities” – MyLife.com
“Top 10 Best U.S. Cities for Small Businesses” – Biz2Credit.com
“Top 10 Best Places to Move in 2014” – SML National Moving
“Top 10 Small American Cities of the Future” – Foreign Direct Investment Magazine
“Top 10 Best Cities for Parking” – NerdWallet.com
“Top 10 Best Places for Veterans to Live” – Best Places for Veterans Report
“Top 10 Great Cities for Family Vacations” – Vacation Critic Travel Planning Guide
“Top 10 Best Places to Retire” – Money Magazine
“Favorite Winter Destination of Canadians” – FlightNetwork.com
“Most Outstanding Green Government” – U.S. Green Building Council South Florida
“Happiest Cities for Young Professionals” – Forbes Magazine
“Best Places for Business and Careers” – Forbes Magazine
“Top 100 Best Cities to Start a Business” – WalletHub
“Certified as a Florida Green Local Government” – Florida Green Building Coalition
“Complete Streets Policy Ranked #1 in Florida and #3 Nationally” – Smart Growth America
“Top 10 Most Affordable Summer Destinations” – GoBankingRates.com
“One of seven areas nationwide cited as an American Dream region” – Xavier University and The Burghard Group