MONTROSE – The world now will know what 20,000 citizens of Montrose already know: Montrose is an All-America city.
On Sunday, June 15, in Denver, the National Civic League bestowed one of its 10 national distinctions of All-America City on Montrose in front of a packed house at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
As one of the judges told Assistant City Manager Rob Joseph of Montrose, “You guys look like the All America City.”
This recognition of what Montroseans live and breathe daily – it’s a beautiful city in which to raise a family, offering diverse cultural activities and a hearty welcome to newcomers – was part and parcel of the promotional work generated by Montrose citizens and officials determined to earn this award. City staff members congratulated the Montrose delegation at their Monday evening meeting, in council chambers, with a round of sustained applause.
"I think this is a huge opportunity for the world to know what we’re all about, and what we're doing in Montrose for our veterans," said Melanie Kline, founder of the Welcome Home Montrose Warrior Resource Center and a founding member of Montrose's delegation to Denver.
Montrose won the award thanks largely to the efforts by the Warrior Resource Center to make Montrose a "No Barriers" community, where veterans can come to live and reintegrate into society, nurtured by community support from citizens who stop at nothing to to honor, help and promote local veterans and military families.
Kline said she hopes the Montrose Warrior Resource Center, the first-of-its-kind in the U.S., will be used as a "blueprint" for other communities to start their own.
The Montrose delegation’s Saturday presentation included information about the city’s history, from the closure of the timber mill that dramatically affected the economy, at the state and local levels, to the growth of the city’s southern end (and the concomitant closures of mom-and-pop stores) to a report on the hard work undertaken by the Montrose Downtown Development Authority to bring local businesses back to downtown.
"I was very surprised and impressed with the level of energy from all the communities there," said DDA Director Scott Shine, a member of last weekend’s Montrose delegation. The Montrose delegation found a "nice balance," Shine said, in its presentation and succinct delivery of information to the judges – while, at the same time, speaking with genuine enthusiasm when it came time to make the case that Montrose is, indeed, an All-America City.
"One of the things the judges mentioned was just our genuine sincerity," Joseph said.
Joseph said during the award presentations one of the judges visited the Montrose delegation and said, "You know, Montrose, I love the line ‘Family is Family.’” The judge was referring to a section of the delegation's presentation.
"I think as far as the criteria this year, we nailed it in every category," delegate Dee Coram said.
Coram said other teams appeared to have been working on presentations for months, but Montrose's that "wholesome approach" swayed judges. He credits the original script written by fellow delegates Melanie Hall and Carol McDermott, with winning the judges’ nod, adding that while many other communities brought delegation of hundreds of members. Montrose’s delegation numbered only about 15.
"It's the community that won this award,” said Montrose Mayor Judy Ann Files, another delegate. “We just got the chance to go to Denver and talk about it. Our community has come together to fund these great projects and work on collaborative projects. That's what it took to get the award was that community involvement."
The atmosphere of the convention was "unbelievable, like a cheerleading camp with pompoms and yelling and screaming from everybody," Files said.
Members of the delegation left Montrose Friday for Denver to rehearse and take in the festivities of the All-America convention.
Montrose was a finalist in the 1990 All-America City Competition, finishing 11th out of 20. This year marks the 64th year the National Civic League has handed out the award, described as a Nobel Prize for civic accomplishment, which has been bestowed on 600 communities nationwide since its inception in 1949. According to the NCL, All-America City awards recognize local action through community-based problem solving and civic engagement efforts involving the public, private and nonprofit sectors. The designation gives the winning communities "bragging rights" than can help them recruit new businesses, increase jobs and obtain grants for community betterment projects in the future.
The other communities receiving the award were Birmingham, Ala.; Downey, Colo.; Peoria, Ill.; Dubuque, Ia.; Owensboro, Ky.;, Dunn, Garner and Thomasville, N.C. and Norfolk, Va.
Live updates, pictures, comments and stories from the convention were uploaded to Twitter and can be found by searching #MontroseCOAllAmericanCity.
PUBLISHED JUNE 17 AT 8:26 A.M.
Montrose Wins 'Nobel Prize" for Civic Accomplishment'
DENVER — The City of Montrose was awarded the title of an All America City Sunday, at the National Civic League's All America City awards held in Denver. Montrose is the U.S. first city to receive the award this year, said delegate Dee Coram. The All America City award has been described as a "Nobel Prize for civic accomplishment.” The NCL has given the award to 600 communities nationwide since 1949. "All-America City awards recognize local action through community-based problem solving and civic engagement efforts involving the public, private and nonprofit sectors,” according to the organization’s website. “The designation give the winning communities ‘bragging rights’ than can help them recruit new businesses, increase jobs and obtain grants for community betterment projects in the future," the NCL states. Montrose was a finalist for the award in 1990, finishing 11th in a field of 20. ONLINE: See up-to-date pictures, comments and stories from Montrose delegates in Denver on Twitter by searching #MontroseCOAllAmericanCity For an expanded story see the Thursday edition of The Watch.