The National Civic League dubbed Garner an All America City Sunday night in Denver, rewarding the effort of a delegation of more than 40 representatives that made the trip and others who helped back home.
Two other North Carolina towns – Dunn and Thomasville – were also named among the 10 winners out of 20 finalists. In Denver, each of the towns made a 10-minute presentation and had a 10-minute question-and-answer session. Other elements evaluated included the towns’ original applications.
“This award validates all of the great work that citizens, nonprofits groups, the faith community and local businesses are doing in Garner,” Mayor Ronnie Williams said. “I’ve always known that Garner is an All-America city, but it’s thrilling to get the official designation.”
In addition to the shared title, the town also won the award for Most Viewed All America City Video. Scotty McCreery starred in the video and tweeted the link to his nearly 730,000 Twitter followers, which likely helped the video’s numbers. With more than 14,700 views, it more than doubled Platteville, Wisc., which had the second most views.
The All America City award, which has been handed out since 1949, aims to reward citizen involvement, inclusiveness, collaboration and innovation in meeting community challenges and needs. This year’s theme put a premium on honoring the military and its veterans.
Garner’s application and presentation focused on both the military aspect as well as meeting challenges. The town completed the citizen-led Garner Veterans Memorial project, a grassroots-funded $500,000 effort, in the spring. Meanwhile, the town also highlighted efforts to block the building of the Triangle Expressway route through town and the closing the local branch library.
The town became the first Triangle municipality to win since Durham in 1983. The last Wake County winner was Raleigh in 1975.