Palm Coast, Florida, wins a national award for making their community an outstanding place to live.
"We take pride in being one of the best places to live in America," said Denise Bevan, Palm Coast'sInterim City Manager. "This is a reflection of the hard work and dedication of our residents, City staff, and public officials."
Polco presents to Palm Coast the Voice of the People Awards for "Transformation in Foundations of Livability" award in conjunction the International City & County Management Association (ICMA).
The Transformation in Foundations of Livability award recognizes and honors communities that have improved the overall quality of life for their residents and the necessary support infrastructure to maintain a vibrant community. This award is presented to local governments that make significant improvements on the NCS ratings and take the best actions on behalf of their communities.
The City regularly conducts The National Community Survey (The NCS) to gather feedback from residents. Data shows much improved ratings between 2017 and 2019. Specifically, the overall reputation of the community and the overall customer service of government employees has improved significantly.
"The City of Palm Coast, FL, has taken great strides to not only make their residents habitable, but desirable. They should be commended for their hard work," said Damema Mann, Director of National Engagement for Polco.
Palm Coast Develops the Local Economy
The City of Palm Coast, FL, has recently completed several initiatives to improve the quality of life for residents.
One of the latest initiatives is the development of the innovative University of North Florida's MedNEX multi-county hub and spoke structure. Hub and spoke structures such as MedNEX are a new organizational model in healthcare that utilizes a collection of different healthcare providers, such as hospitals and clinics, to provide healthcare to a population.
MedNEX creates the very first university-based medical hub within the vicinity and will help bring together the entire Florida medical ecosystem. This will allow students, residents, and healthcare professionals to collaborate, learn, and grow together to create a healthy, prosperous community.
"Students who choose to participate will be trained as our next generation of healthcare professionals. This will bring together scholars and practitioners to create an epicenter in Town Center, our Innovation District, for a comprehensive nexus that will eventually change the entire medical dynamics and economy of Palm Coast," said Bevan.
Based on research, Bevan predicts MedNEX will lead to job growth of approximately 23%. She also predicts that Palm Coast will offer almost 400,000 regional students a more comprehensive opportunity to enter the healthcare field close to home.
Putting Tax Dollars to Work for the Community
2017 NCS™ ratings for a vibrant downtown/commercial area were ranked as below the national average. As a result, city officials stepped up the local "Be Local, Buy Local" initiative as a way to increase economic development and overall quality of life for residents.
"This is a shop-local campaign that was designed as a call to action to educate and prompt residents to spend their money on goods and services in their home community," said Bevan. "Money spent in local stores, restaurants, or at gas pumps comes right back to the City to build, upgrade or maintain our amenities and infrastructure."
The "Be Local, Buy Local" campaign has three sources of funding:
1/2 cent tax: These funds are collected when shopping locally and go directly to support the General Fund.
Local option fuel tax: These funds are collected when residents pay for gas at their local stations. The funds go to support street improvements, new sidewalks and paths, parkway beautification, signal optimization, intersection and turn lane improvements, and continuous street lighting program.
Small county surtax: These taxes help fund the Capital Projects Fund to pay the costs of construction, reconstruction, or public facilities improvements.
These funds are collected each time a resident shops at their favorite shop in town, visits their favorite local restaurants, and or pumps gas within the city.
Between 2017 and 2019, the Be Local, Buy Local initiative brought in approximately $625,296.13. The City has begun to spend the money to expand its entertainment and recreation options within the community.
Palm Coast Expands Entertainment and Recreation Options
While the City has focused its attention on growing its local economy, it's also working hard to improve residents' overall quality of life. This is reflected in the City's efforts to support the community through the development ofnew residential and non-residential structures, including ample entertainment and recreation options.
One such addition is a new Splash Pad for the James H. Holland Memorial Park. TheJames H. Holland Memorial Park is already a staple in the community, especially for those with growing families. With the addition of the new Splash Pad, the park has become even more of an asset for The City.
"We are so excited about the new Splash Pad," said Bevan. "It will be a great addition to our park and the city. Can you just imagine your family's delight when you bring them to the park? Water jets will shoot out at you from lifelike frogs, dolphins, and rays while you swing from hammocks or climb around treehouses. We'll even have a whimsical steam engine and carriage for imagining trips to your favorite destinations."
Bevan went on to explain that additional upgrades for the park include:
Added accessibility features
New family swings
Upgrades to the bocce ball courts
A New LED lighting system added to the tennis courts
Palm Coast Embodies the Foundations of Livability
Palm Coast, FL, is a proud community that has taken great strides in the last few years to improve the quality of life for its residents. The City’s work continues to be recognized.
Based on the increase in ratings on The NCS between 2017 and 2019 and continued efforts to improve the community, Palm Coast, FL’s quality of life continues to improve.
"There's a reason why people always smile and say hello as they pass each other on jogging trails or bike paths. Palm Coast residents simply love living here. This City is their happy place because their quality of life continues to surpass their expectations," said Bevan.