We did it! We made the finals! Check out the news release below!
Gothenburg is proud to announce the city has been named one of 20 finalists for the National Civic League’s 2019 All-America City Award (AAC).
Communities large and small from across the country vie for this annual recognition. This year’s finalists represent the diversity of Americans and share a common bond of working to create healthy communities through inclusive civic engagement. They are among the largest cities to the smallest towns, from east to west and north to south. Finalists include the fourth largest city in America — Houston, Texas — and Gothenburg, Nebraska, a city of only 3,500 people.
The application for the AAC award was submitted by a team from the Gothenburg Improvement Company board of directors, who will also organize Gothenburg’s presentation to a jury of judges during the finalist competition in Denver, Colorado, June 21-23. The 2019 spotlight for the award focuses on efforts of inclusive engagement practices that create healthy communities for all. The three projects the Gothenburg team chose to focus on for this competition are the expansion of Gothenburg Health and addition of the YMCA; the local food access initiative that includes Gothenburg Shares, Lunch Buddies, home-delivered meals and the Backpack Program; and Gothenburg’s Early Childhood Learning Coalition.
“Our community is one that recognizes and acts on the evolving needs held by our residents. These become action plans, and those action plans become results. The involvement of our community members makes these goals a reality and sets the stage to continue Gothenburg’s vision of making sure ‘All Means All.’ ”
— Gothenburg’s AAC application
This is not the first time Gothenburg has experienced the All-American City competition. The city received the award in 1991 and shared in the award when Dawson County received recognition in 1993.
In addition to Gothenburg, the other 2019 finalist cities are:
Battle Creek, Michigan
Clinton, North Carolina
El Paso, Texas
Hallandale Beach, Florida
Livingston County, New York
Rancho Cordova, California
Rock Hill, South Carolina
San Antonio, Texas
West Hollywood, California
The All-American City award, given to 10 communities each year, celebrates and recognizes neighborhoods, villages, towns, cities, counties, tribes and regions that engage residents in innovative, inclusive and effective efforts to tackle critical challenges.
To view the full release from the National Civic League, go online to https://conta.cc/2JGOeuz.
Rescheduling a public event that involves a rented venue, a caterer, a liquor license and a long list of award recipients is no small task. That's a lot of moving parts to try and realign. In the darkness of my home, which had no electricity from 3 am to 9 am, I fretted last Thursday morning about how the Chamber and GIC Business After Hours & Awards event might all come together again (or
simply fall apart).
Amazingly, just like the privacy fence around my yard, all of the pieces fit
back together (with only minor flaws) and the event was a go once again. Please, come celebrate with us tonight!
When all of the rescheduling details were worked out, I spent about two minutes being proud of myself for not having a nervous breakdown during the realignment process. Then I opened Facebook to share the new details for the Business After Hours and I was instantly mad at myself.
Rescheduling this celebration had become such a big deal to me that I was blind to what was happening on both ends of my state. In the Panhandle — where I grew up — folks were buried under FEET of snow. The losses, especially to the cattle industry, are enormous. In eastern Nebraska, three people lost their lives due to FEET of gushing water that has caused destruction beyond BILLIONS of dollars.
It seems a little unreal here in Gothenburg where a few washed out gravel roads have been an inconvenience. But to no surprise, our generous residents have already begun delivering help to take care of our neighbors. There have been loads of hay, water, food and other personal items already delivered from here. More loads are being collected.
The Governor has declared Friday, March 22, as #NebraskaStrong Day, urging those who can donate financially to give via a phone call to 844-278-8555. Giving online is also available through an American Red Cross relief site at www.RedCross.org/donate.
There's not a quick fix. No doubt, though, neighbors will continue helping neighbors until everyone is back on their feet, because we are ... #NebraskaStrong.
If you want a little crazy weather, ask the Gothenburg Community Development Office to plan the annual awards presentation event. At least that's been the case the past two years, and it proved true again in 2019. We've postponed our Business After Hours & Awards until Thursday, March 21, at the same time and same place.
There are still folks out there confused by the Gothenburg Community Development Office, Gothenburg Chamber of Commerce and Gothenburg Improvement Company. Are they all the same thing? How are they different? Why are there three? Let me explain.
The Gothenburg Chamber of Commerce is a membership organization designed to promote the businesses in town and growth of our community. We also work to make connections with new residents, plan events such as Harvest Festival, advertise our attractions to tourists and take a seat at the table whenever discussions warrant. It's a nonprofit organization run by 12 board of directors. That's just a snippet. It would take far too many characters to explain it all.
Gothenburg Improvement Company is an organization of stockholders who volunteer their time toward economic development. These range from recruiting new businesses and working toward business retention to leading efforts such as passing a school bond issue, developing an economic development sales tax plan and pushing the fundraising for a new YMCA across the finish line. Right now, GIC is heavily involved in new housing development and early childhood learning, on top of marketing the former Baldwin Filters building to find a new community partner. It is run by a board of directors made up of 16 community leaders and the tasks they take on vary as much as the talents each brings to the board.
And simply put, the Community Development Office is the umbrella. The Community Development Office manages the day-to-day operations of both the Chamber and GIC under one roof.
So when the Community Development Office has its annual awards event — this year in a Business After Hours format — both the Chamber and GIC come together to honor a few folks that make Gothenburg the fabulous community that it is. All of this year's award recipients exemplify "The Gothenburg Way." A few kind words and a pretty plaque seem small when compared to what these folks have done for the community.
The event is free and open to the public. No tickets and no reservations required. We'll have some hors d'oeuvres, a cash bar and lots to fun. I hope you'll join us to recognize what's great about Gothenburg.