Texas Municipal League Municipal Excellence Awards for 2012
(Over 25,000 population)
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Round Rock (City Spirit)
The Play for All Abilities Park has been a community-wide effort and a dream come true for Round Rock and surrounding communities.Through the Play for all Foundation, the City's Park and Recreation Department, local civic clubs, city staff, and professionals and parents who have worked with children with special needs, Round Rock was able to design a beautiful park to serve the children of Williamson County, including its 7,945 children with a disability. The mission of the park is to provide a safe, fun place to play and develop new skills for children of all abilities. The park is distinguished from other parks because it features equipment and playscapes that easily accommodate children with special needs. Used for therapy and learning, as well as play, the park includes all ability swings, an all abilities playscape, a sensory pod, and even a village with mini-versions of Round Rock businesses to help children learn life skills.
Tyler (Communication Programs)
For the first time, the City of Tyler published its annual reportas an e-book with linked video and as a printed document with QR codes. By utilizing an e-book format, citizens can view the report anytime and anywhere they are on a computer, smart phone, or tablet. To view the report, citizens can follow a link, go to the city website, follow Facebook and Twitter feeds about the annual report, pick up a printed copy at city hall, access a print version at the Tyler Library, or scan the Annual Report QR Code with their smart phones. By opting to employ an electronic version of the annual report, the city saved more than $10,000 while making the report more interactive and a more environmentally friendly option. Transparency is of the utmost importance to the city, and producing the annual report as an e-book and a report with QR codes represents an innovative and engaging tool to enhance communication with the citizens of Tyler.
Plano (Management Innovations)
To facilitate accessibility of food service inspection records, the City of Plano developed a QR code to include on Environmental Health Department permits issued to food establishments. When scanned using a smartphone application, the QR code directs a Web browser to the department's website. Once individuals are on the site, they can access up-to-date inspection details for that particular restaurant, including the current inspection information, history of compliance, and the location of the establishment on a map. The QR code is a versatile and cost effective way to provide information to the consumer through a preferred delivery method, while also making it imperative that inspection reports are accurate and timely. Initial public response to the QR codes during the 2011 calendar year was positive, with restaurant web page hits showing a 70-percent increase in activity over the previous calendar year.
Wylie (Public Safety)
The Wylie Youth Enrichment Program is a two-week program designed for adolescents in the city and the school district who are at-risk orare beginning to travel down a troubled path. The program promotes positive self-esteem, respect of self and others, community volunteerism, as well as awareness of the issues related to teen pregnancy and tobacco, drug, and alcohol use. With the guidance of the Wylie Police Department, local businesses, guest speakers, and targeted field trips, the youth are exposed to real-life lessons and examples. Some of the activities include touring a children's home, meeting with a former gang member, touring the County Juvenile Jail, visiting retirement centers, volunteering in the community, and receiving training for job interviews. This program represents an investment in the future of young people by showing the youth and their parents the importance of their choices and actions to themselves, others, and their community.
Baytown (Public Works)
In December 2010, the City of Baytown began a pilot project to test the use of six LED streetlights on State Highway 146. The city became interested in the LED lights to combat issues with the short life-span of conventional lighting. An estimated 50 percent of highway lights burn out within two years, resulting in the need for frequent replacement, which is costly and dangerous to work crews. This pilot project demonstrated the benefits of LED technology. Not only did the LED lights do a better job of illuminating the highway, increasing visibility and visual appeal, but the cost to power the lights also went down drastically and maintenance costs were almost eliminated.Thanks to Baytown's efforts, other cities have the opportunity to use LED lighting that will create safer, more appealing roads while saving money that can be used for other needs.
Additional information on the TML Municipal Excellence Awards Program can be obtained by calling the TML offices at 512-231-7400.