Algoma named an All-America City for the Live Algoma community wellness initiative
ALGOMA – Algoma was named one of 10 All-America City Award winners by the National Civic League, making it the first Wisconsin community to be recognized with the award since Brown Deer in 2016 and first in Northeast Wisconsin since the Greater Green Bay Area in 1999.
The theme of this year's annual competition was the nominated municipalities' focus "… on civic engagement practices that enhance health and well-being in local communities," a press release from the league said.
Algoma was nominated for Live Algoma, an Algoma School District-operated community health initiative that strives to fight "brain drain" by creating and promoting opportunities in professional fields for local students, residents and employers.
Three Live Algoma programs were featured in the presentation to the awards jury: Algoma Wolf Tech, a student-run business that provides technical and mechanical education and business skills to high and middle school students; Algoma Community Wellness Center, which offers opportunities to residents and business employees for fitness, wellness, nutrition, financial coaching and more; and Wolf Den, a student-run program with high school students mentoring younger ones at risk.
Eighteen communities from across the country were finalists for one of the 10 awards given by the league each year since 1949. The competition was held virtually for the first time this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so representatives of each community needed to give a live, online presentation of about 20 minutes to a jury of league officials to state their case for an award.
The 18 finalists covered a wide range of population sizes and demographics, but Algoma was by far the smallest community in the running, with a population of 3,045 as of 2018. The nine fellow award winners ranged in population from Porstmouth, Ohio, with about 20,000 residents, to El Paso, Texas, with more than 660,000. The other winners were Rochester, New York; Rancho Cucamonga, California; Danville, Virginia; Franklin, Tennessee; Miami Gardens, Florida; Muncie, Indiana; and Pitt County, North Carolina.
The All-America City Award marks the second national award in three years for Live Algoma, following a Culture of Health Prize in 2017 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. That and other recognition, such as Algoma being named a Bird City Wisconsin in 2013, help the city become known outside the area as a place to visit and live, Mayor Wayne Schmidt said.
"Number one, it's exciting," Schmidt said. "It's good PR for the city. It puts us on the map. I've been getting congratulatory letters from mayors from across the country … It's nice to get that recognition in a small town of a little over 3,000 people. It makes people take notice."
The National Civic League was formed in 1894 (then called the National Municipal League) by a group of civic leaders seeking inspiration and new models for governing and managing the nation’s cities. For more information on this year's awards, visit nationalcivicleague.org/2020-finalists.
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Algoma named an All-America City for the Live Algoma community wellness initiative