On June 6, 2008, the St. Louis region was named a 2008 All-America City. Months of hard work and collaboration by several community leaders and citizens led up to the award, which is given annually to 10 outstanding communities by Denver-based National Civic League.
This year St. Louis was the only "region" to make the finalist group from among more than 100 nominees, and was only metro region in the nation to be designated a 2008 All-America City.
Meet Our Delegation
Seated left to right: Lakeisha Joyce, Boomerang Press apprentice; Justin Wilson, Boomerang Press apprentice; Kelly Duggan, Fleishman-Hillard; Kimmika Warren, Boomerang Press apprentice; Anne Klein, Great Rivers Greenway District Chair, Director of Policy Development, St. Charles County; Tom Reeves, former executive director Downtown NOW! and current President Pulaski Bank St. Louis; Nancy Krelle, Project Manager, St. Louis Regional Chamber; and Cedric Curry, Boomerang Press apprentice.
Standing left to right: Michele Fontaine, Program Counselor, St. Louis ArtWorks; Linda Leonard, Vice President of Economic Development, St. Louis Regional Chamber; Priscilla Block, Executive Director, St. Louis ArtWorks; John Senseney, Fleishman-Hillard; Dick Fleming, President & CEO, St. Louis Regional Chamber; Mayor Francis Slay; Susan Glassman, President, St. Louis ArtWorks and Senior Vice President Urban Strategies; Jim Cloar, President, Downtown St. Louis Partnership; David Fisher, Executive Director, Great Rivers Greenway District; Mike Buehlhorn, Executive Director, Metro East Park and Recreation District; Ronda Sauget, President, Validus Business Strategies; and Anne Cloar.
Our Featured Projects
Sixteen finalist communities were invited to Tampa to present three projects where citizen action was transforming communities into better places to live. Projects focused on community initiatives such as economic development, healthcare, youth, improved race relations, education, and more.
The St. Louis region’s nomination and presentation focused on the challenges of revitalizing the region’s central city, the need for connecting the region through trails and parks, and the need to empower youth to succeed through the arts and business.
Project 1: Downtown Now! is a public/private partnership formed in 1997 to develop a seven-year plan for revitalizing downtown St. Louis. It was developed and implemented by a diverse region-wide coalition of government officials, private citizens, entrepreneurs, business leaders, investors, and community groups. Over $4.25 billion has been invested downtown in the past seven years, with another $1 billion currently underway. This level of investment in historic restoration and adaptive reuse has led to Missouri becoming the number one state in the use of federal tax credits.
Project 2: The River Ring is a unique, 600-mile web of 45 biking trails and greenways that will encircle and connect the St. Louis region. It is being created by the Great Rivers Greenway District. Both the Great Rivers Greenway District and the Metro East Park and Recreation District were established in November 2000 by the successful passage of the Clean Water, Safe Parks and Community Trails Initiative (Proposition C) in St. Louis City, St. Louis and St. Charles counties in Missouri and Madison and St. Clair counties in Illinois. Together the Great Rivers Greenway District and the Metro-East Park and Recreation District make up the nation’s first bi-state, multi-county park district to develop an interconnected trail system.
Project 3: The Boomerang Press, a division of the community-based arts collaborative St. Louis ArtWorks, was launched after winning the 2007 Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Competition at Washington University in St. Louis’ Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. Boomerang Press provides meaningful employment and job training, enabling students ages 14-19 to produce commissioned art with real-world clients in paid positions under instructor guidance.
All-America City Video
Two video production specialists from STL TV, City of St. Louis, journeyed to Tampa with our regional delegation to capture our story of becoming an All-America City. Click here to see the video.
Now in its 59th year, the All-America City Award is the oldest and most prestigious civic recognition in the nation. Considered a “Nobel Prize for Constructive Citizenship,” the award recognizes communities whose citizens are tackling community-wide challenges and achieving uncommon results. This year is the first time since 1956 that St. Louis has been recognized as an All-America City.
The All-America City Award is a program of the National Civic League, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in 1894 to strengthen citizen democracy by transforming democratic institutions. NCL accomplishes its mission through technical assistance, training, publishing, research, and the All-America City Award. The National Civic League is headquartered in Denver, Colorado.