Four Florida cities have been recognized as winners of the Florida League of Cities’ 9th Annual Florida Municipal Achievement Awards:
- The City of Oldsmar has won the City Spirit Award
- The City of Melbourne has won the Florida Citizenship Award
- The Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea & the City of Fort Myers have won the Environmental Stewardship Award
“For nearly a decade, the Florida Municipal Achievement Awards have been recognizing excellence and innovation in local government programs. Florida’s municipalities are known for utilizing creative solutions and new ideas to better serve the citizens of our cities and these awards honor the best of the best,” said Susan Haynie, who is president of the Florida League of Cities and serves as mayor of the City of Boca Raton. “Congratulations to the winning cities for their outstanding programs that have earned the prestigious Florida Municipal Achievement Award!”
The City Spirit Award recognizes a single, specific citywide effort to successfully address a local need. The City of Oldsmar’s winning entry, Oldsmar’s People Centennial, showcased how the city and its citizens worked together in 2016 to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the Oldsmar by Ransom Eli Olds—the inventor of the Oldsmobile and REO automobiles. Scores of citizens, businesses, and civic organizations partnered with the city to organize numerous events tailored toward its diverse community. The collaboration culminated in an event for citizens of all ages that displayed Oldsmar’s true City Spirit.
The Florida Citizenship Award focuses on city projects or programs that build stronger, more participative residents. The programs increase civic awareness, education, and knowledge, and promote active participation in city government among residents. The City of Melbourne’s winning entry, Outreach & Sponsorship Program, was launched in 2015 to increase awareness, promote active participation in recreation programs, and increase the use of city parks. Local businesses have partnered with the city in this effort and the program has dramatically increased Melbourne residents’ desire to “get out and play” and take pride in their city’s parks.
The Environmental Stewardship Award focuses on city programs that promote conservation, improve and protect environmental conditions, and/or provide environmental education and outreach programs within a city. This year two cities tied for the win in the Environmental Stewardship Award category: the Town of Lauderdale-By-the Sea and the City of Fort Myers. The Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea’s coastal environmental protection program has two main components: planting sea oats to build up beach-protecting sand dunes, and transplanting staghorn corals to local reefs to create additional underwater habitats. Among other things, this has mitigated beach erosion and improved coastal resiliency to help maintain vital sea turtle habitat. The City of Fort Myers River Basin is 1.5-acre multi-functional water detention/retention area that treats urban storm water runoff from the City’s 15-acre downtown, reducing the total nitrogen load entering the river. Additionally, the picturesque basin is sparking economic development along the 1,200 linear feet of new waterfront property into downtown, providing a focal point for downtown events, reducing the urban heat island, and offering opportunities for community education and passive recreation.
The winning cities will each receive a trophy, along with special recognition at a commission meeting and at the League’s annual conference. They will also be featured in the League’s award-winning magazine, Quality Cities (QC), and on the League’s website and social media outlets.