(06/06/08) - For the third time in its
history, the City of Akron was named an "All-America City" by the National Civic League at its annual
competition held this week in Tampa Florida. Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic accepted the
award on behalf of the city and its residents.
"This affirms the outstanding work
of many people in our community who have worked so hard to make Akron one of this
country's great places to work and live," said the Mayor.
A delegation of 66 people from Akron was on hand to applaud the city's victory in the
competition, often referred to as the Oscars for America's cities.
Representatives from Akron schools, the business community, non-profit organizations,
neighborhood groups and the University of Akron participated in the 10-minute presentation
to a panel of 10 judges Thursday and attended the Awards Ceremony Friday.
of 66 as it makes its presentation to the National Civic League judges in Tampa, Florida.
Akron was selected from a large field to be named an All America City, based on this
presentation. Mayor Don Plusquellic accepted the award on behalf of the citizens of Akron,
which has won the award three times. This year, 1995 and in 1981. (click image to enlarge)
Plusquellic was accompanied to the stage to receive the award by two
students from Perkins Middle School---eighth graders Tyrell Butts and Devonte Roper---
participants in Alchemy, Inc., an after-school program at Perkins Middle School.
The competition required presentation of one youth project in the community - in
Akron's case - the Perkins Activities Central after-school program, funded by the Knight
Foundation. Carla Sibley, Coordinator of Special Projects for the Akron Public Schools
expressed to judges how the program has impacted the lives of Tyrell, Devonte, and other
Competitors were also required to identify two community challenges and how the city
faced them. Akron identified its need to build and pay for new schools as Community
Learning Centers to retain young families in the city, and the need to increase
employment, especially in technology-related business.
David James, executive director of business affairs of the Akron Public Schools and its
new superintendent effective next month, described the extensive community participation
behind the design of each one of Akron's 47 new buildings to be built over 12 years.
Bernett Williams, president & CEO of the Akron Urban League, detailed for the
judges the successful marriage of its new headquarters building with the Helen Arnold CLC,
and the increased enrollment in their GED classes, computer learning and job placement
To illustrate the impact of the Akron Global Business Accelerators (AGBA) current
39 tenants, and 65 graduated companies that now employ more than 750, Mike LeHere,
director of the AGBA used the example of incubator tenant InSET Systems. InSET has crafted
a technology solution to locate coal miners underground,
Following the presentation, judges had the opportunity to probe further during a
10-minute question and answer period. Community responses were offered by Akron City
Council president Marco Sommerville, Akron School Board president Linda Omobien, (uh MOE
bee un) and Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank CEO Dan Flowers, along with the presenters.
According to the National Civic League, "the All-America City Awards recognizes
communities for collaboration, inclusiveness, and successful innovation. All-America
Cities demonstrate community-wide civic accomplishments, cross-sector cooperation,
grassroots participation, and creative approaches to issues."
In order to be selected as a finalist in the annual competition, Akron was required to
submit an extensive application (2008
Application.pdf) with detailed information about the city, its history, challenges,
and impact of the three community projects.
The live presentation was scripted by Dave Lieberth, deputy mayor for administration,
who also produced Akron's successful presentation in 1995. "I'm looking forward to
re-designing the city's logo," said Lieberth. (The Akron logo contains the words
"All America City- 1981, 1995.")
All 66 Akron delegates backed-up the presenters on stage. When the chief judge asked,
"Akron are you ready?" the group responded in unison, "Judges, the City of
Invention is ready and rarin' to go!" As backdrop to the presenters, members of the
group held up a 6' x 20' canvas mural depicting Akron's skyline painted by Todd Volkmer of
Akron Northside's galleries.
(Watch Todd prepare the All-American City backdrop at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5utxRB60-C4)
Others participating in Tampa included University of Akron VP John LaGuardia and
University Park Alliance executive Ken Stapleton, Greater Akron Chamber President Dan
Colantone, Knight Foundation Akron Program Director Vivian Neal, Summit County Juvenile
Court Judge Linda Teodosio, AMHA Executive Director Tony O'Leary, Akron YMCA president
Doug Kohl, United Way President Robert Kulinski, Akron Zoo V.P. Doug Piekarz, Info Line
President Richard Stahl, and representatives from the International Institute, Summa
Foundation, Perkins Street Area Action Group, R.I.G.H.T., GlobeChem Marketing,
Salvation Army, and Akron Children's Hospital.
Read details here:
Application (174k pdf)
Presentation Script (18k