Arkansas Shine Awards: Nashville

Nashville wins Arkansas Shine Award

The City of Nashville has won its first Arkansas Shine Award from the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB) for outstanding environmental and community improvement efforts. KAB representatives presented the award to city officials today at a reception at Nashville City Park.

The Arkansas Shine Awards program recognizes communities that are making significant strides in providing programs and instituting policies to create sustainable communities. Nashville is one of six statewide recipients of the fourth annual Arkansas Shine Awards.

“Nashville is an ideal small community to live in,” wrote Mayor Billy Ray Jones in Nashville’s Arkansas Shine Awards entry. “We enjoy the economic benefits made possible by our re-formed Economic Development Group’s efforts, still have a vibrant historic downtown that was recently placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and are located within an hour’s drive of several major Arkansas cities. We’re dedicated to promoting these advantages and continually striving to undertake comprehensive community improvement projects.”

Nashville’s award entry highlighted community efforts to reduce cigarette litter in the city’s park and streets. This project, undertaken by the Nashville Rotary Club, was made possible by a $1,000 grant from the Keep America Beautiful Foundation. After conducting research to determine the extent of cigarette littering and identify key “litter points,” the Rotary team and Cossatot Community College Chancellor Steve Cole, who assisted with the project, chose strategic locations for well-designed public cigarette receptacles. Since the receptacles’ introduction, cigarette litter in the city has been cut by nearly half.

“We hope that public awareness of the amount of cigarette litter in our city will cut down on the number of cigarette butts that are thoughtlessly discarded by smokers,” Jones remarked. “We also believe that the design and convenience of these receptacles will make it much easier to dispose cigarette of litter properly.”

Other projects featured in Nashville’s award entry were designed to simultaneously help the environment and community members in need. The city’s Community Garden and Master Gardeners Demonstration and Butterfly Garden hold workshops throughout the year and donate their produce to support senior citizens and other underprivileged community members. The City’s Public Works Department, meanwhile, partners with local businesses to maintain recycling bins and collect recyclables for the Howard County Children’s Center (HCCC). By collecting recyclable materials for HCCC, Nashville is helping improve the environment and supporting a recycling facility that provides services and employment for the developmentally disadvantaged.

“KAB is eager to recognize the well-rounded efforts by communities all across the state and their commitment to civic improvement,” said Robert Phelps, director of KAB. “It takes dedicated leaders and volunteers in many organizations to keep towns clean and green, from litter prevention to recycling programs to beautification and community development.”

Arkansas Shine Awards entrants were evaluated and ranked using performance standards for 1) creating environmental initiatives to reduce litter, encourage recycling and enhance natural beauty; 2) positively impacting economic development; 3) developing public-private partnerships to accomplish goals; 4) securing project funding; and 5) enforcing litter laws and city ordinances for property upkeep. One Arkansas Shine Award winner was named in each of several population categories, and a statewide Superstar Award was presented to one community that had won multiple Shine Awards in previous years.

Other 2011 Arkansas Shine Award recipients are Bentonville (Benton County), Brookland (Craighead County), Harrison (Boone County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), and Arkansas Shine Superstar Award winner Fayetteville (Washington County).

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