This is the eighth installation of a series focusing on the 2014 Voice of the People Award winners. The Voice of the People Awards are presented annually to outstanding communities that have conducted The NCS.
We want our communities to be not just habitable, but livable. The best communities are places where people desire to live. This means that residents can enjoy a high quality of life and have easy and widespread access to community amenities and services. See how communities across the nation are taking steps to increase community involvement and quality of life.
Brookline residents enjoy a high quality of life thanks in part to easy access to neighborhood commercial areas, parks and playgrounds, cultural activities, regional transportation and high-quality public services. Brookline offers the intimacy of a small town with the vibrancy of a major metropolitan city. Brookline manages BrookONline, an online portal that serves as a virtual town hall resource where citizens can pay bills, apply for permits, report needed street repairs or view a map of town bike paths. Brookline prides itself on transparency in government and the Brookline Police Department was recognized as having the most transparent police website out of a pool of over 300 police departments across the nation. Furthermore, Brookline launched Community Dashboard and Open Checkbook, portals that allow citizens to see town expenditures. Most importantly, Brookline continues to monitor citizen feedback to identify areas that need attention.
Elk Grove, CA
Elk Grove prides itself on maintaining safe, livable and attractive neighborhoods with a high quality of life and access to the city’s amenities. The city has aggressively worked to remove blight and nuisances from neighborhood streets and maintain an attractive environment. To better serve its residents, Elk Grove provides recreation opportunities through the year-long Join the Movement program. The program provides tips, activities and events designed to connect residents with tools and resources for living a healthy and active lifestyle. Since 2011, the city’s customer service program Ask Elk Grove has been connecting residents with local government resources and information. By making connecting with the city government easier and more accessible, Elk Grove has seen a considerable increase in citizen participation. This program was further expanded with the launch of our own mobile phone application in late 2011. The application allows residents to submit and track requests, learn about public meetings and community events through an online community calendar, and get instant access to the latest news and information about Elk Grove.
Peoria had been one of the fastest growing communities in the country before the great recession. However, once the housing economy, a major economic driver in the city, slowed down, residents felt that several essential elements of neighborhood infrastructure were missing such as bike lanes, parks and roadways. Following the city’s 2009 administration of The NCS, existing Capital Improvement Projects funds were retargeted to meet citizen priorities and enhance the quality of life in Peoria’s neighborhoods. To address these concerns, the city constructed several bridges and roadways that provide better mobility for residents of Peoria’s neighborhoods. Additionally, Peoria constructed over 15 miles of bike and walking paths with several trailheads. Infrastructure improvements have led to an increased quality of life for city residents.
La Vista, NE
The City of La Vista wanted to increase community engagement and its 50th anniversary seemed like a perfect occasion to raise interest and boost participation. The city kicked off the festivities for La Vista 50 with several events for citizens including La Vista Daze – the city’s annual Memorial Day weekend event, summer concerts, free pool day, Urban Adventure Race, Dinosaur Egg Hunt, Hydrant Party, National Night Out, Halloween Safe Night, Holiday Tree Lighting and Wintertainment. The La Vista 50 events were a huge success drawing large attendance from community members. In fact, attendance to community events continues to grow. This has resulted in an improved satisfaction level with the city by residents.