SAN FRANCISCO, June 20, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Boston, MA Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Hattiesburg, MS Mayor Johnny Dupree have been awarded first place honors in the 2015 City Livability Awards Program during The U.S. Conference of Mayors' 83rd Annual Meeting in Dallas.
The award recognizes mayoral leadership in developing and implementing programs that improve the quality of life in America's cities, focusing on the leadership, creativity, and innovation demonstrated by the mayors. This year's winning cities were selected by former mayors from a pool of over 200 applicants.
"Our City Livability Awards Program gives us the chance to express our pride in cities' mayoral leadership in making urban areas cleaner, safer, and more livable," said Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of the Conference of Mayors. "We are grateful to Waste Management for its many years of support for the City Livability Awards Program, and for the opportunity to showcase the innovation and commitment of mayors and city governments across the country."
This is the 36th year in which cities have competed for the award, which is sponsored by the Conference of Mayors and Waste Management, Inc., the nation's largest environmental solutions provider.
Alex Oseguera, Waste Management's Vice President & General Manager, Northern California-Nevada, presented the awards during today's annual luncheon in San Francisco, CA. "It is a privilege for Waste Management to partner with the USCM and honor the Mayors working to enhance their cities' quality of life, which the City Livability Awards represent," said Mr. Oseguera. "For more than 26 years, Waste Management has sponsored the Awards because as the leading provider of comprehensive waste and environmental solutions for North America, our services are vital to the quality of life of cities and communities across the nation."
Please see below FIRST PLACE program descriptions:
BOSTON, MA (large city): Youth Lead the Change (YLC) program – Boston's "Youth Lead the Change Program" aims to create a foundation of trust and collaboration between city officials and the youth in the surrounding community. The program, entirely youth-led, puts young people aged 12-25 in direct control over $1 million of the city budget. Over 1550 youth participated in the program in 2014 and funded seven projects, including park renovations, art wall construction, sidewalk improvements, and a skate park feasibility study.
"I am honored to receive this prestigious award on behalf of the City of Boston," said Mayor Walsh. "We're involving our youngest and brightest residents in local government, and empowering them to make positive changes in their neighborhoods. I am proud we were able to challenge young people to think critically about how to spend taxpayer dollars in a way that better serves the people. This fosters a sense of responsibility and accountability; and they walk away knowingtheir voices matter."--- Boston, MA Mayor Martin J. Walsh
HATTIESBURG, MS(small city): Education Initiatives -- While there are many programs serving the youth of Hattiesburg, Mayor Dupree felt there needed to be greater visibility and coordination of these efforts, so he developed a series of educational initiatives including youth engagement in local, state and national policy through the Mayor's Youth Leadership Council and "Take a Look, Find A Book," a reading initiative intended to bring young people into a greater culture of literacy. The city constructed 31 little free libraries and installed 8 public art sculptures with literary themes. The city has also rolled out the "Hub City Access-Hattiesburg Area Youth Master Plan," which seeks to create a blueprint to broaden services for youth. The Master Plan is the product of a yearlong collaboration between the City, The University of Southern Mississippi School of Social Work, and the community.
"Our community is absolutely thrilled to win this prestigious award. It is a salute to the many individuals within our community who tirelessly lend their time, expertise, and creativity towards the mission of inspiring and educating our youth. Furthermore, this special recognition challenges us to remain innovative, inclusive and consistent in our quest to rid our nation of its disparities." --- Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny Dupree
In addition to the two top awards, Outstanding Achievement Awards were given to five cities with populations of 100,000 or more— Charleston (SC), Irvine (CA), Kansas City (MO), Louisville (KY), and Philadelphia (PA) — and five cities with populations of less than 100,000— Carmel (IN), Orland Park (IL), Renton (WA), Rochester Hills (MI), and Sunrise (FL).
Honorable Mention citations for cities with populations of 100,000 or more went to Arlington (TX), Houston (TX), Memphis (TN), and Seattle (WA). Citations for cities with populations of less than 100,000 went to Camuy (PR), Davie (FL), Norwalk (CT), and Westland (MI).
About The United States Conference of Mayors -- The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are nearly 1,400 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/usmayors, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/usmayors.