Better Balance For Long Beach And Coolidge Triangle Neighborhood Ass'n. Win First & Second Place "Neighborhood of the Year" Honors from Neighborhoods USA
(May 26, 2006, updated with pix) -- Cell phones sounded and the internet blazed with news (posted within minutes on LBReport.com) that two Long Beach grassroots groups -- Better Balance for Long Beach and NLB's Coolidge Triangle Neighborhood Ass'n -- had won national honors...First Place and Second Place Awards -- in the Neighborhoods USA 2006 "Neighborhood of the Year Awards" in the category of "Multi-Neighborhood Project Partnerships."
Delegations from both groups/neighborhoods, plus reps from LB's Neighborhood Resource Center and city staff, flew to Kansas City for NUSA's annual event...to make presentations and hear the awards announced in an "American Idol" type finish.
BBLB won First Place for holding high-visibility picnics in 14th St. Park that drew attention to nuisance and law-flouting activities in the Washington Middle School neighborhood and prompted remedial action from City Hall.
NLB's Coolidge Triangle Neighborhood Association's "Project Preserve" won Second Place honors for fighting 710 freeway expansion plans and promoting neighborhood enhancement with home improvement rebates.
The moments were captured on a digital camera...which had a mind of its own and captured them the posed pix as video; Roger Holman emailed the clips which we transformed to stills:
BBLB co-founder Jane Kelleher told LBReport.com, "BBLB wants to thank the 14th St Neighborhood for trusting us and we hope other neighborhoods will recognize that they have some power." She added, "We hope this award helps other fragile neighborhoods exercise the power they may not know they have." Along with Ms. Kelleher in KC were BBLB co-founders Annie Greenfeld-Wisner, Dan Berns, Linda Palacios and Jack Smith...plus three neighborhood members.
Also in KC was Coolidge Triangle Neighborhood Ass'n leader Roger Holman, along with Dave San Jose and Pat Long. Mr. Holman told LBReport.com, "It's an honor to be at the top with BBLB and I want to thank all the people that helped us get here, including 9th district Councilman Val Lerch and his field rep, Jerry Caligiuri and Kathleen McCleary from the Neighborhood Services who helped us in preparing our presentation."
Likewise in Kansas City and receiving heartfelt thank-you's from the winners were Margaret Madden Neighborhood Resource Officer with LB's Neighborhood Resource Center (NRC) and Dennis Thys, Manager of LB's Neighborhood Services Bureau.
The NRC hosted a workshop for neighborhood groups, explaining the awards process and heard a presentation from LB's Craftsman Village Historic District (7th/Orange area), a previous NUSA award winner. The NRC also provided technical assistance to groups submitting applications and guided the finalists in preparing their presentations for the NUSA conference.
Neighborhoods USA (NUSA) says its annual awards are a way "to recognize the outstanding work of neighborhood organizations from all across the United States, and to say "thank you" with a collective voice to the many dedicated people who are working hard to improve the quality of life in their own neighborhoods." The group said its awards recognize "neighborhoods that have demonstrated exemplary efforts in improving the quality of life for its neighborhood, residents, and municipalities." It's the 21st consecutive year that the awards have been presented, the only national awards given on an on-going basis to neighborhood groups for their self-help initiatives, NUSA says
NUSA, which sponsors the Neighborhood of the Year awards program, describes itself as a "national non-profit organization committed to building and strengthening neighborhood organizations. NUSA was created in 1975 to share information and experiences to build strong communities. NUSA also encourages networking and information sharing as a way to facilitate the development of partnerships between neighborhood organizations, government, and the private sector."
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