It’s party time in Garner this week, as the town celebrates its selection as an All-America City for 2013, the first Wake County municipality to earn the award since 1974-75.
Townspeople came out on Monday night to cheer the return of the hometown delegation which represented Garner in the All-America City competition, held in Denver.
Garner is one of just 10 communities nationwide to win the honor, which is dubbed the “Nobel Prize for civic accomplishment.”
The prestigious All-America City Award recognizes citizen engagement, cross-sector collaboration, innovation and inclusiveness. It also showcases grassroots solutions to meeting pressing challenges and critical needs within communities.
Garner competed against 19 other finalists to win the All-America City Award with its presentation highlighting citizen-led efforts to build the Garner Veterans Memorial; to create and sustain Community of Hope’s after-school program, food pantry and other activities; and to boost the performing arts scene at Garner Performing Arts Center.
The town’s application for the award, and its June 15 presentation in Denver, also cited other citizen-led efforts including the Meals on Wheels program at Garner Senior Center; the town’s annual Relay for Life event at Lake Benson Park; and grassroots activism to save Garner from the Triangle Expressway “red route” and block closure of the Wake County Library Southeast Regional Branch in Garner.
The run-up to the All-America competition included a video contest; Garner’s video was hosted and narrated by hometown hero Scotty McCreery, and won "most viewed" honors among the finalists.
The All-America City program is administered by the Denver-based National Civic League. The award announcement came on the evening of June 16 at a ceremony in Denver, following Garner’s presentation to a panel of 12 judges the afternoon before.
“This award validates all of the great work that citizens, nonprofit groups, the faith community and local businesses are doing in Garner,” said Mayor Ronnie Williams. “I’ve always known that Garner is an All-America City, but it’s thrilling to get the official designation.”