2:23pm

Tue October 11, 2011
The Commonwealth

League of Cities Recognizes its Own

 

LEXINGTON - Simpsonville, Greenville,  Pikeville,  Hopkinsville  and Lexington were recognized with Enterprise Cities Awards by the Kentucky League of Cities during its annual Conference & Expo on Friday in Lexington.  The Enterprise Cities Awards, given since 1999, go to municipalities in four population categories that have demonstrated entrepreneurship, innovation and excellence in local governance. Entries are judged in seven key areas: innovativeness or creativity of the project, long-term value to the community, adaptability to other cities, use of public/private partnerships, ability to achieve project benchmarks, community-citizen participation and program efficiency.

"Cities learn from each other," said Jon Steiner, KLC executive director/CEO, in a press release. "In these challenging times, it is a priority that communities are innovative and resourceful to serve citizens. These cities have demonstrated the kind of initiative that can serve as examples for all Kentucky cities."

This year, sponsorships allowed KLC to make a $1,000 donation to all four winners and a $250 donation to the runner-up to support their projects.

2011 Kentucky League of Cities Enterprise Cities Award Winners

The City of Simpsonville won in the 5,000 and under population category for its Ball Field Redesign Project. 

Simpsonville is one of Kentucky's fastest growing communities. The Ball Field Redesign Project is an example of Simpsonville's commitment to upgrading quality of life and recreational amenities. 

The ball field is also an impressive example of public/private partnership. The city worked with a local industry as well as other community partners to transform three acres of existing property into a state-of-the art recreational facility that includes softball, baseball, T-ball and soccer fields as well as a concession area and press box. As a public/private venture, the $150,000 project cost the city approximately $40,000. 

The city views the field design as an intergenerational facility bringing friends and families together - from kids to grandparents - and it is a wonderful gift for the citizens of Simpsonville and surrounding communities for generations to come.

The City of Greenville won in the 5,000-15,000 population category for its Downtown Renovation.

Greenville's Downtown Renovation is an example of one effort leading to a series of lasting improvements. Initially, the city wanted to improve its sidewalks for school children and applied for Safe Routes to Schools grants. They also created a tourism commission and got grants to improve the appearance of their downtown.

From there it snowballed. The city created a sense of pride and invited citizens to help with renovation projects. Some Saturdays this past summer more than 100 volunteers turned out to clean and rebuild their downtown. Businesses and eateries flourished, and thousands of people packed downtown Greenville for concerts. 

The city's Downtown Renovation has received national attention and has been featured on KET.

The City of Pikeville was named runner-up in the 5,000-15,000 category for its Café on Main Project. 

The Café on Main Project created a downtown area complete with Wi-Fi, landscaping and a stage. The city worked with downtown restaurants and now holds Main Street Live performances twice a month. The project is good for people, good for business and easy to replicate in other communities. 

The City of Hopkinsville won in the 15,000-40,000 population category for its Woodmont Basin System.

In 1997 and 2005, Hopkinsville experienced major flood events. The damages were so severe and numerous that the city created the Hopkinsville Surface and Stormwater Utility (HSSU) a nonprofit entity to address flood-affected areas. Working with a number of community technical and design partners, HSSU developed a master drainage plan and created the Woodmont Basin System to mitigate or reduce the severity of damage in flood prone areas. 

The city financed the project with a stormwater fee paid to HSSU combined with funding from a KLC bond. During the building process, the city listened to citizens, making sure that safety and environmental concerns were addressed. 

In April 2011, more than 14 inches of rain fell in Hopkinsville and May brought more heavy rains with nearly six inches in two days. The Woodmont Basin System was put to the test. And it worked. No damages were reported from the residents in the Woodmont Basin target area. The cost for the project was $1.8 million and research models have shown that those same residents could have sustained up to $1.7 million in damage. 

The city of Lexington won in the 40,000 and over population category for the Senior Intern Program. 

When most people think of interns they think of high school or college students. Lexington took a different approach with its Senior Intern Program for people over the age of 50. 

Much like a citizen's academy, the program gives participants a week-long crash course into the inner workings of Lexington's local government. They see firsthand how hard city employees work every day. 

The benefit to the city is multifaceted and participants are asked to commit to giving back through volunteerism which leaves a lasting legacy for the community. And it's good for them, too. Research shows that active seniors have lower rates of depression and higher longevity rates. Lexington sees the Senior Intern Program as a way to provide interaction and understanding between generations and reinforce the fact that seniors are a source of knowledge and service to the community.