Fayetteville wins inaugural Arkansas Shine Superstar Award
The City of Fayetteville has won the first Arkansas Shine Superstar Award from the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB) after winning Arkansas Shine awards the past three years. KAB representatives presented the award to city officials today at a reception at Fayetteville’s Matt Miller Studio.
The Arkansas Shine Superstar Award recognizes a community that has previously won two or more Shine Awards and continues making significant strides in providing programs and instituting policies to create sustainable communities. Fayetteville is the statewide winner of the inaugural Arkansas Shine Superstar Award.
“Fayetteville is consistently recognized as one of the best places to live, work and play in America. We continue to demonstrate the community’s commitment to improving the quality of life through the promotion of natural beauty and learning from the best practices around the country in the area of sustainability,” wrote Mayor Lioneld Jordan in Fayetteville’s awards entry. “The growth of volunteer involvement and community collaborations and partnerships has resulted in our city setting new standards and being looked to for best practices by other communities.”
Fayetteville’s award entry highlighted the new Community Revolving Loan Fund, a program that offers low-interest loans to Fayetteville nonprofits for energy-efficiency retrofits. This fund – which distributes $250,000 in Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funding from the U.S. Department of Energy – is designed to help nonprofits reduce daily operational costs and redirect the savings to support regular program needs.
In its first year, the fund provided energy surveys, renewable energy installation assessments and master plans for the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce and the Mount Sequoyah Retreat Center. Contracts for many of the projects are in place, while others will be finalized in the near future, according to Fayetteville’s awards entry.
“We recognize that many nonprofit entities may be struggling for funding during the current economic downturn,” Jordan remarked. “It is our hope that these grants will reduce operational costs and allow for improvements that support their regular program needs.”
This year, Fayetteville was also selected as one of two pilot cities by the Sustainable Cities Institute. The institute’s multilevel selection process and site visit evaluated each city’s sustainability plans and the proposed initiatives and projects designed to support them. As a pilot city, Fayetteville’s sustainability project will receive three years of support and technical assistance from the Sustainable Cities Institute and its partners, the services of a local coordinator, and $500,000 in funding from The Home Depot Foundation to meet its project goals and objectives.
“Fayetteville’s success in this competition is a result of continued partnership between the City, various local businesses, and our residents,” Jordan wrote. “Through programs like Fayetteville Forward, we have engaged community stakeholders at every level and involved them in community planning and improvements. With their help, we’ve been able to identify, organize and undertake objectives which otherwise would not have been feasible. These efforts will continue to have a positive impact on our city and on our environment.”
“KAB is eager to recognize the well-rounded efforts by communities – such as Fayetteville – 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 Superstar Award 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; 5) attempting to enforce litter laws and city ordinances for property upkeep; and 6) using its regional and national reputation to enhance quality of place and quality of life for its residents. One statewide Arkansas Shine Superstar Award winner was selected.