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City’s Neighborhood Program Wins National Honors

June 10, 2009

For more information contact:

Suzanne Dale Estey, Economic Development Director, 425-430-6591
Preeti Shridhar, Communications Director, 425-430-6569, cell 206-491-8158

RENTON:   Participants of the City of Renton’s Neighborhood Program have long known they were engaged in a positive community partnership.  Now, the program is being recognized nationally for its excellence.  The Neighborhood Program received two honors at the Neighborhoods USA conference held in Spokane recently. 

Renton’s Neighborhood Picnic Program received the second place award in the “Social Revitalization” category and the Liberty Ridge Playground Project, funded through the city’s Neighborhood Grant Program, came in third place in the “Physical Revitalization/Beautification” category.  Renton was the only city in the nation to have two finalists for this year’s Neighborhoods USA awards.  Renton Mayor Denis Law received the awards from Neighborhood Program staff members Norma McQuiller and Wendy Kirchner at the June 8 Renton City Council. 

“We have known for a long time that the city’s Neighborhood Program is an incredibly positive force in our community.  This national recognition affirms the great work the city is doing in partnership with countless community leaders to strengthen our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Denis Law. 

The city’s Neighborhood Program was established in 1997 to promote positive communication between residents and city government.  The program has grown to 53 officially recognized neighborhoods. 

Neighborhood picnics were created to encourage neighbors to gather together and create a forum to discuss neighborhood issues and ideas, and allow neighbors to get to know their city officials.  In 1998, the first city-sponsored picnic was held with an attendance of approximately 200 residents.  Ten years later, in 2008, the program hosted 19 picnics throughout the city, serving 25 combined neighborhoods and approximately 3,800 residents. 

Through the Neighborhood Grant Program, the city provides funds to enhance the vitality of neighborhoods, foster a sense of community, and build relationships among neighbors.  The neighborhood is required to match the city contribution with volunteer labor, resources and donations.  The Liberty Ridge Homeowners Association received matching funds from the Neighborhood Grant Program to plan, install, and enjoy a neighborhood playground. 

Neighborhoods USA (NUSA) is a national non-profit organization committed to building and strengthening neighborhood associations and promoting productive communications and collaborations between those organizations and the public and private sectors. NUSA was created in 1975 to share information and experiences toward building stronger communities.

NUSA’s Neighborhood of the Year awards have been presented since 1984.  They are the only national awards given on an ongoing basis to neighborhood organizations for their self-help initiatives.  Selection of Neighborhood of the Year Award finalists and award winners was based on the degree to which the nominated project, in its unique neighborhood context, was innovative, overcame obstacles, mobilized community resources, and created partnerships between people of different ages, cultures or economic stature who might not ordinarily work  together.  More information is available at www.nusa.org

For information on the city’s neighborhood program, visit rentonwa.gov.

Renton Mayor Denis Law; residents Tom Winters, Tom Rowley, Veronica Smith-Casem, and Michael Reyes.

Photo: From left to right: Renton Mayor Denis Law; residents Tom Winters, Tom Rowley, Veronica Smith-Casem, and Michael Reyes.