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Association of Washington Cities honors Municipal Excellence winners

Olympia, WA – The Association of Washington Cities (AWC), an Olympia-based organization advocating on behalf of Washington’s 281 cities and towns, honored five Municipal Excellence award winners at its annual conference in Wenatchee, June 23-26, 2015. City honorees include Kenmore, Kennewick, Marysville, Orting, and Wenatchee.

The winner of the Municipal Excellence Award in the Coolest City Hall category was Kenmore. Completed in 2010, Kenmore City Hall reflects the city’s ambitions for downtown redevelopment, design excellence, public art, and sustainable features. As the first building constructed by the city, Kenmore City Hall serves as a gathering place and a symbol of more good things to come.

The Municipal Excellence Award in the Innovative Cost Savings category went to Kennewick. The City of Kennewick’s LRF (local revitalization financing) project has been very successful and can be used as a statewide model to showcase the partnerships between the state and city, along with the benefits of growing private development opportunities. Through the development of Kennewick’s revitalization area, the city has increased and opened a new hospital, medical complexes, and increased economic development.

Municipal Excellence in the Emergency Management category was awarded to Marysville. On October 24, 2014, a juvenile gunman shot four students at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. Rather than dividing these two neighboring communities, Marysville tapped its existing relationships with the Tulalip Tribes and Marysville School District to efficiently respond to the shooting and develop a long-term partnership that will build a more resilient, prepared community. Through tragedy, the tribes, local leaders, service clubs and the city worked together to educate the community about mental health and suicide prevention.

The Municipal Excellence Award in the Small City Success category went to Orting. Through partnerships with county, state, and federal agencies, Orting developed the new 1.6-mile Calistoga Setback Levee which protects the City of Orting from flooding, widens the Puyallup River Channel, restores natural habitat, and promotes salmon recovery. The new levee survived its first big test with flying colors in November 2014 when the 4th largest flow since 1962 moved down the Puyallup River.

Finally, the Municipal Excellence Award in the Community Engagement category went to Wenatchee. The Wenatchee Foothills Community Strategy is a shining example of a citizen engagement process used to establish and achieve community goals. The city, in partnership with Chelan County and two public land trusts, launched a community planning effort to develop the Wenatchee Foothills area. The recently completed phase of the project has generated over $8 million dollars in grants and donations to acquire, improve, and maintain 879 acres of property in the Wenatchee foothills for community benefit.

Paul Roberts, AWC President said, “These innovative cities are addressing challenges and leading their communities. I’m proud to deliver the Municipal Excellence Awards to these five incredible cities for their outstanding commitment to excellence.”

The Municipal Excellence Award promotes and recognizes innovative and effective city programs that improve the quality of life in their communities. Whether a city has overcome funding obstacles to make infrastructure improvements or created a unique collaborate partnership within their region, Municipal Excellence winners inspire other communities to make positive changes.