Congratulations to Garner, a finalist for the All-America City Award. The Wake County town is among about 30 hopefuls for the awards, which will be presented in June in Denver. Its competition, by the way, includes a number of towns in North Carolina, which says something about quality of life in the Tar Heel State.
For Garner, the prestigious, coveted award would confirm what town leaders and many residents already know: Theirs is a great town in which to live and do business.
Though small by city standards, Garner has much to recommend it to employers and their workers: improving schools, safe neighborhoods, a variety of housing, good roads, diverse employers, a variety of dining and shopping, a growing arts community and ample parks, including one with a nature center.
Town government is responsible for much of what Garner offers. Its professional police force helps keep neighborhoods safe. The town employs an economic-development officer to help recruit employers. Its investment in good roads and parks is well known, and its commitment to the arts is growing.
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The $37.5 million in bond issues approved by voters will only make Garner more attractive. The borrowing includes money for roads, parks and a three-gym recreation center to lure people to a revitalized downtown.
Understandably, Garner leaders want to advertise the town’s many attributes to a wide audience, which explains their pursuit of the All-America City Award. Should Garner win the award, the promotional value could easily equal an expensive advertising campaign.
In one way, the All-America City Award honors a town for what it has done. Garner, for example, is a finalist partly because of its veterans’ memorial, which is nearing completion in time for its unveiling next month. But we suspect Garner leaders are just as excited about what the award could do for the town in the future.
And what it could do is bring the jobs and tax base that would allow a town that already offers much to offer even more. And that would be its own reward.