Helena chosen for Alabama Communities of Excellence
By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor
Helena recently was named one of only six cities in the state to be chosen for the Alabama Communities of Excellence program for 2013, Helena Mayor Mark Hall announced on May 21.
Through the program, which is open to cities with populations ranging from 2,000-18,000, ACE “uses a comprehensive, three-phase approach to assist participating communities in planning and preparing for a more vibrant future,” according to the organization’s website.
Helena and six other cities were chosen from the 14 cities to apply for the program this year.
“I am proud Helena has been accepted to participate in the program, and appreciate the commitment that the City Council has pledged to the program,” Hall wrote in a text message. “I would also like to thank former (council member) and Helena resident Katherine Ennis for volunteering to work on this project for our city.”
Over the next few years, Helena will work with ACE to complete three phases aimed at bettering the city.
Through the first phase a “comprehensive report card detailing these community assets and challenges is prepared and presented to the community along with recommended strategy and actions,” according to the ACE website.
The second phase involves establishing a city leadership development program, developing an up-to-date strategic plan and identifying a local ACE coordinator.
In phase three, the program addresses city issues, including “comprehensive planning, commercial business development, education enhancement, infrastructure, health and human services, retiree attraction, tourism, economic development, and quality of life” according to the ACE website.
After completing the three phases, the city will be named an Alabama Community of Excellence, and will receive a grant to fund a “priority economic and community development project as identified in the strategic plan created during the ACE program,” read the website.