2012 TML Municipal Excellence Award Winners
(Under 25,000 population Category)
Roanoke (City Spirit)
In 2005, Roanoke was bypassed by a state highway, leaving the historic downtown largely vacant and deteriorating. With community input and support, a comprehensive Downtown Plan was created to redevelop downtown Roanoke. Implementation strategies included preserving historic buildings, planning for compatible new development, creating a form-based code to achieve the downtown vision, and reconstructing existing roadways and infrastructure. The project also included the restoration of the Rock “Hotel,” which now serves asthe Roanoke Visitor Center and Museum; a new zoning district for the Oak Street corridor; and the creation of a plaza and parking lots. Cooperation among city officials, the community, and area businesses created a public-private partnership that has resulted in tremendous growth, success, and a major source of community pride.
Oak Point (Communication Programs)
The city recently developed a multifaceted Citizen Communication Program consisting of three primary components. First, the city website, which includes forms and applications, contact information, public hearing notices, links to codes and ordinances, new resident information, overviews of departments and services, a community calendar, and a newspaper. The second component is an automatic email update that citizens can subscribe to on the city website. This update features community news, links to city council meeting agendas, and quarterly newsletters. The final component is the city’s quarterly newsletter, the Country PlaceBulletin, which contains information on special events, city services, meeting dates, and recent city news. Implementation of the Citizen Communication Program has helped Oak Point accomplish one of its main strategic goals: “to inform and seek input from citizens through a variety of communication efforts.”
Kennedale (Management Innovations)
The city identified a strategic business objective of utilizing students and university classes to achieve city goals. During the past four years, 190 students from four universities have worked with the city. Both the students and the city staff benefit: the students are mentored by citystaff and gain professional experience, while the city staff receives help with research and staff support. The students give presentations to the city council, staff, and appropriate advisory board members. Similarly, city representatives give in-class presentations at universities when invited by a professor. In addition to the student-city relationship, the city staff annually reads five books, which are intended to reinforce the desired culture and public administration focus essential to organizational development. These books are read together, with the city manager leading a staff discussion ofthe material on a weekly basis.
South Padre Island (Public Safety)
South Padre Island developed a plan for responding to the influx of up to 100,000 college students who flock to the island for Spring Break each year. Using local, county, and regional resources, a “tiered” response was created that provided a system for assigning adequate and proper resources to evaluate patient needs and to place them in the correct tier of the response system. The system has three main components: patient triage and onsite evaluation and treatment, fast and efficient response to 911 calls, and coordination with local hospitals through constant communication and status updates. Using this system, South Padre Island is now able to respond more appropriately to emergency calls and provide the best treatment for patients without overloading the system. By approaching Spring Break from a regional perspective and utilizing all available resources, South Padre Island was better able to respond to the medical needs of its citizens and visitors.
Wimberley (Public Works)
In 2005, the City of Wimberley and Hays County embarked on a mission to save “Blue Hole”—a well-known, spring-fed swimming hole—from the threat of private development and environmental degradation. After an unprecedented fundraising effort, Blue Hole and 126 acres of land surrounding it were purchased by the city for use as a community park and nature preserve. The city and county then worked together to create not only a beautiful regional destination, but also a much-needed amenity for local citizens. The Blue Hole Regional Park is now one of the largest pieces of natural public land in Hays County that has been preserved and converted into a park that offers recreation, covered pavilions, nature trails, a playground, and swimming. The park protects sacred Hill Country flora and fauna, water quality, and landforms through sustainable programming and design, native landscape restoration,and habitat protection.
Additional information on the TML Municipal Excellence Awards Program can be obtained by calling the TML offices at 512-231-7400.