Montevallo to participate in Alabama Communities of Excellence program

The city of Montevallo is one of five cities selected to participate in the Alabama Communities of Excellence program.

The ACE program is a comprehensive three-phase approach to economic and community development for cities with populations between 2,000 and 18,000, said ACE President Joe Sumners, director of Auburn University’s Economic and Community Development Institute.

Other cities selected this year include Arab, Eufaula, Foley and Hartselle.

“Communities with eligible populations must complete and submit an application in order to be considered for the ACE program,” Sumners said. “The two main criteria used in selected participants are the level of local commitment to the ACE program, and the community’s capacity to support the ACE program.”

Montevallo Mayor Ben McCrory said the ACE application process is extremely competitive and selective, so the news of the city’s selection came as a welcome surprise.

“We are thrilled and honored that Montevallo has finally been selected to participate in the program,” McCrory said. “There’s no way for me to convey just how huge of an opportunity this is for our city.”

McCrory added, “Over the next three years, some of our state’s most outstanding talent will be here in Montevallo working on our behalf – all provided free of charge through the ACE program.”

Sumner said the ACE program consists of three phases. Phase I focuses on assessment, Phase II focuses on leadership development and strategic planning and Phase III focuses on implementation and comprehensive planning. All three phases must be completed in order for the city to graduate and be declared an Alabama Community of Excellence.

“Throughout each of these phases, ACE partners work with each community to successfully achieve their goals,” Sumners said. “The ACE program would not be possible without the funding, hard work and participation of the ACE partner organizations.”

Upon graduation, each community receives an ACE sign to be posted at the city’s gateway, a grant to be used for a priority economic and community development project and a certificate signed by the governor and the ACE president, Sumners said.

To maintain the ACE designation, a community must be recertified every three years.

Montevallo is the first Shelby County city to be selected for the ACE program.

Since ACE’s start in 2003, 15 communities have been certified – Atmore, Brewton, Demopolis, Fayette, Guin, Gulf Shores, Guntersville, Haleyville, Headland, Heflin, Jackson, Millbrook, Monroeville, Thomasville and Valley.

For more information, visit the Web site alabamacommunitiesofexcellence.org.