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All-America recognition bid falls short

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Columbus’ All-America City delegation returned home Monday without the national recognition it hoped to achieve.

But what may have worked against the city in the competition to be an All-America City could actually be something good.

Columbus’ issues paled in comparison to some of the major issues affecting other communities, Mayor Kristen Brown said in an interview from Denver, where the awards were announced Sunday night.

“One thing we saw is that most of the communities that ended up being selected had been confronted with much tougher challenges than Columbus,” Brown said.

“A lot of them were facing crises on a number of fronts, and Columbus by every major measure of economic prosperity and quality of life is hitting it out of the park.”

The National Civic League recognizes 10 communities with an All-America City Award each year, a designation that honors civic accomplishments.

Winners demonstrate innovation, inclusiveness, civic engagement and cross-sector collaboration by describing programs that address community issues. The award is open to neighborhoods, towns, cities, counties and metropolitan areas, regardless of size.

National Civic League President Gloria Rubio-Cortés praised the communities that were selected for aligning existing programs to achieve greater impact.

“These communities are amazing,” Rubio-Cortés said. “They deserve to be recognized for the great work they are doing to make their communities stronger, healthier and more inclusive.”

Columbus was one of 25 finalists nationwide for the award. The city received the designation in 1994, the last time it had applied.

Two other cities that were selected in 1994 — Yakima, Washington, and Fitchburg, Massachusetts — also were finalists this year but were not selected.

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