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Longmont 2006 All America City FinalistCivic Infrastructure Section

All America City Award, City Manager's Office

View the City of Longmont's All America Cities Application (entire document, pdf file)

View the separate sections of the application which describes our Community

Part I - Civic Infrastructure

Part II - Community Background and Community Challenge Section

Part III- Community-Driven Projects

Part I
Civic Infrastructure

Describe your community. Using the four major sections of the National Civic League’s The Civic Index, Second Edition (see www.ncl.org for more information), examine your community’s civic infrastructure and civic capacity and describe how your community lives each of the answers to each of the following questions. Please include real examples of how your community has demonstrated its strengths and faced its challenges. The roman numerals correspond to parts of The Civic Index, Second Edition. Also see the application instructions for this section.

Add lines as needed for your responses

I. What is our community vision for its future? (300 word maximum)
The dynamic environment in which our community must thrive is experiencing great change. Economic globalization is reshaping the competitive arena in which communities exist. Jobs of all educational and skill levels are subject to relocation into any part of the world. Regionally, major transportation infrastructure improvements, population increases, intensified retail competition, and the arrival and departure of major employers will continue to significantly impact Longmont’s quality of life and its ability to provide adequate public services.

In approximately 15 years, this city will reach the build-out of its planned residential area. As the community reaches build-out, the revenues associated with growth will decline. In order to preserve the amenities our City provides and continue to improve our quality of life, our community came together to develop strategic policy directions for our future. In 2005, 550 residents participated in a visioning process, “Focus on Longmont”, that established the following goals:
• Promote a Healthy Business Climate
- Create a continuum of job opportunities
- Ensure that development and redevelopment aligns with Longmont’s vision/values
- Emphasize balance between local/non-local businesses
• Support Education as a Community-Wide Value
- Promote activities supporting lifelong education including public/private partnerships, volunteerism and mentoring
• Enhance the Natural Environment
- Improve City trail system
- Promote multi-use open space
- Encourage “green” building standards
- Enhance public transportation opportunities
• Focus on Downtown
- Promote the area as a destination and gathering place
- Encourage mixed-use development
- Foster economic development
- Improve accessibility and pedestrian orientation
• Promote a Sense of Community Identity and Cultural Inclusion
- Strengthen existing neighborhood groups, and encourage new groups in additional neighborhoods
- Revitalize and renew youth programs
- Continue to promote inclusive citizen involvement and cultural gatherings

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II. How are we fulfilling the new roles for community governance?
II. (a). What is the extent and nature of community member participation in community improvement efforts? (300 word maximum)
Longmont has a long standing history of community involvement. The residents care about the city and have been actively involved in shaping its future for many years. Over 2,000 residents have participated in visioning processes in the last decade. “Focus on Longmont”, initiated in 2005, is a new city-wide planning project to develop community supported strategies that will move the city towards a sustainable future as it approaches build-out within its planning boundaries. Approximately 550 residents participated in this process through self-selection and random selection to ensure representation from people who don’t normally lend their voices to community planning processes. More than 145 organizations and community groups were represented.

The Neighborhood Group Leaders Association represents 53 neighborhoods and meets monthly to keep abreast of city, community and school district issues. In 2001, a Neighborhood Revitalization Program began. 7,000 surveys in English and Spanish were distributed regarding neighborhood conditions. Five neighborhoods were selected to participate in the application process. Two neighborhoods have begun their revitalization efforts. The Kensington Neighborhood developed a plan in 2004 that focuses on parks, pride in residences, traffic, safety and lighting, investing almost $900,000 in the neighborhood. Residents of the Historic Eastside Neighborhood have developed a vision and a draft action plan.

The Multicultural Plan has brought together approximately 200 participants to develop an action plan that reaches out to all residents to create an inclusive, caring community. Additionally, the Longmont Housing Opportunities Team is working to meet the housing challenges the community faces.

Over 160 residents serve on 22 City boards, committees and commissions. There are more than 53 committees throughout the St. Vrain Valley School District with over 530 members. Additionally, more than 5,000 community members volunteer in the schools each year.

II. (b). What role does government play in community-wide decision-making and how do they contribute to improving the community? (300 word maximum)
City Council and staff recognize their roles in the community beyond municipal service provision. They are quick to recognize changes taking place in the social or economic structure of the community and they seek out opportunities to facilitate leadership. In 2002, the City initiated a formal Community Involvement Plan instructing departments to plan for appropriate community involvement in new projects, initiatives, policies or significant program changes. Whether a park is being planned or a water plant is being sited, the community is asked to participate in the process.

The City has taken lead roles in the Multicultural Plan, “Focus on Longmont” and the Longmont Area Comprehensive Plan, a community-wide process that helped guide development within Boulder County. Additionally, the City of Longmont provides support to the Neighborhood Group Leaders Association, providing staff and funding neighborhood improvement projects.

Longmont is an active partner in the Boulder County Immigrant Integration Initiative which is bringing together the immigrant and non-immigrant communities in meaningful dialogue to identify assumptions and fears, dispel myths, and generate proposals for increasing mutual understanding.

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The City Council meets regularly with the St. Vrain Valley School District Board to coordinate efforts on community problem solving, development and facilities. They have partnered on ventures such as the Gang Response and Intervention Project. The City Council is committed to ensuring that children have a healthy start and are ready to learn when they begin school. As a result, an initiative is underway called Bright EYES (Early Years Education Stewards)—A Longmont Community Early Care and Education Collaboration. Representatives from the City, the School District and several service agencies convened to focus on ways the community can work to expand and improve early education opportunities. Almost $2 million dollars has been secured for Bright EYES.

II. (c). What role does the non-profit sector play in community-wide decision-making and how do they contribute to improving the community? (300 word maximum)
The non-profit organizations in Longmont are a vital part of our community. They are willing partners in many community-wide efforts, including the Longmont Housing Opportunities Team (LHOT), “Focus on Longmont”, GRIP and the Multicultural Plan. They provide important services to the community, including:

Longmont’s OUR Center (Outreach United Resources), a unique community-based organization, unites churches (45), human service agencies (40), local governments (2), businesses (100) and volunteers (600) in providing emergency services. OUR Center’s “one stop” services provide food, shelter, clothing, counseling, job referrals and other life necessities. In 2005, the OUR Center served over 6,000 individuals. Additionally, Salud Clinic provides quality, comprehensive primary health care services in Longmont and does not turn patients away based on finances, insurance coverage, or ability to pay.

The Longmont Housing Opportunities Team began when those working on housing issues in the community, many non-profits, met to make sure they were not duplicating services. As a result of those early meetings, they are now proactively seeking solutions to homelessness in Longmont.

The St. Vrain Community Council is an organization consisting of 42 human service agencies in the area. The Council coordinates the Holiday basket program to provide toys and food to families in need around the holidays. It also monitors legislation and speaks out on issues that affect the populations served by the human service agencies.

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Each year the City of Longmont provides $1 million in grants to non-profit agencies that provide human services to Longmont residents. Applications are reviewed through a formal funding process coordinated by the Longmont Housing and Human Services Advisory Board which is a voluntary citizen advisory commission appointed by Longmont City Council.

II. (d). What role does business play in community-wide decision-making and how do they contribute to improving the community? (300 word maximum)

The Longmont Downtown Development Authority is enhancing and rehabilitating the downtown commercial core. More than $45 million in public and private funds have been invested in new and renovated buildings. Redevelopment efforts have preserved historic buildings and “small town” appeal while endeavoring to fulfill the “Focus on Longmont” vision of a “destination” downtown with art galleries museums, theaters and music. Several parking lots have been landscaped in ongoing beautification efforts. The LDDA and the City of Longmont are examining the feasibility of a mixed use parking structure that would support area businesses.

The Longmont Area Chamber of Commerce holds Public Affairs Issue Forums for its members to learn more about leaders, issues and initiatives driving the local economy. Longmont’s highest profile topics are featured, including growth, transportation, school finance and affordable housing. This keeps business leaders informed and involved in the community. The Chamber’s support of the Support Our Schools (SOS) initiative helps ensure the continuance of quality public education.

The Longmont Area Economic Council’s purpose is to foster the creation and retention of primary jobs for Longmont citizens. The LAEC assists primary employers with issues related to keeping the business environment healthy by educating staff and elected officials, supporting primary employers, and acting as a spokesperson for employers on issues affecting them.

The Longmont Area Visitors Association (LAVA) was established in 2005 as a joint venture by the Longmont Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Longmont. It has 32 members and was formed to market Longmont to potential visitors. The Longmont Small Business Association is a group of small business representatives whose goal is to strengthen small business in the community.
The Latino Chamber of Boulder County promotes opportunities for minority-owned businesses. It addresses the needs of the rapidly growing Latino business sector.

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III. How do we work together as a community?
III. (a). How does our community recognize and celebrate its diversity? (300 word maximum)
Recognizing and celebrating diversity is a priority for Longmont. The Multicultural Plan is a large, community-wide effort to help Longmont become more caring and inclusive. While the task force members responsible for carrying out the Plan have many accomplishments, they have also organized several events to celebrate the diversity in the community. The Longmont Multicultural Plan Committee, the Longmont Museum and other community partners planned the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) event which was held at the Museum in 2005. Additionally, they made enhancements to the Cinco de Mayo celebration. They also planned a Diez y seis de Septiembre event held at the Longmont Youth Center and Centennial Park in 2005, as well as a New Americans Series from February – April 2005.

2005 was the first year the Office of Community and Neighborhood Resources offered Community Cultural Events Grants. The purpose of the grants is to support communities, groups and individuals in celebrating the diversity of cultures within Longmont. The City of Longmont provides mini-grants of up to $1,000 to support new events or enhance projects which contribute to the diversity of community events. Two of the events supported with grants in 2005 were: Celebrando Madres, for Alternatives for Youth, an event to celebrate Hispanic Mothers and a Mexican and Japanese Interactive Arts Booth at Cinco de Mayo for the Longmont Sister Cities Association. Sister Cities created an opportunity to share Mexican and Japanese art projects at the Cinco de Mayo Festival. Approximately 200 children and adults made block prints and flowers.

Other efforts in the community to support diversity include the Longmont Sister Cities Association, which facilitates cultural exchanges between sister cities Ciudad Guzman, Mexico and Chino, Japan. Also, the newly formed Latino Chamber of Commerce supports minority-owned businesses.

III. (b). How does our community work with neighboring communities to address shared challenges? Is there a shared regional vision? (300 word maximum)

Longmont continues to be a leader in regional cooperation. The City of Longmont collaborates with cities, towns and special districts to provide fire, EMS, community planning and water services. Community leaders are active participants in many multi-city and county organizations in the greater metropolitan area, such as the Denver Regional Council of Governments, MetroVision Regional Plan, and the Regional Transportation District. MetroVision is this region’s growth and development plan. Longmont has been an active participant in developing that vision.

Longmont also participated in the Boulder County Civic Forum’s regional Affordable Housing Assessment, the Boulder County Immigrant Integration Initiative, and we are an active member of the Boulder County Consortium of Cities, a cooperative forum fostering cooperative action on programs regarding open space, trails, transportation, solid waste and more. The building of the St. Vrain Greenway was a tribute to successful planning and cooperation with Weld County, Boulder County and the Town of Lyons.

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The City of Longmont recently began providing water service to the Town of Lyons, located just west of Longmont. Lyons was faced with building a new water treatment plant to meet Safe Drinking Water standards at a considerable cost to their 1600 residents. Longmont offered to provide water treatment services to Lyons for considerably less cost than the construction of a new treatment plant. The cities entered into an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) in 2003. An additional IGA was signed in 2004 to convey property for a pump station and establish cost sharing for water lines that both entities are jointly installing. Lyons began receiving water service from Longmont in January of 2006. This IGA represents the cooperative spirit between the two communities. This project saved Lyons over $5 million and a 20 year IGA provides for the town to retain its water rights.

IV. How does our community strengthen its ability to solve problems? (300 word maximum)

A remarkable attribute of the Longmont community is its willingness to come together and tackle even controversial, potentially divisive issues, knowing the path will be complex and challenging, but realizing that doing nothing or taking the safe route is even more threatening to our community. The residents, organizations and businesses know that it takes the efforts of many to be successful.

Fully integrating our immigrant population is vital to the health of our civic infrastructure. The Multicultural Plan and the Boulder County Immigrant Integration Initiative are important to addressing some of the most pressing issues our community faces. Ensuring that all residents are provided the opportunity to actively participate in our community is a priority.

Support our Students (SOS) was formed by community members after the St. Vrain Valley School District encountered a large financial deficit in 2002. Community leaders have created an SOS program that will evaluate and meet the needs of the students of each school within the District to ensure that the student’s academic progress is not affected and enhance education through business and community partnerships on an ongoing basis. SOS has donated $170,000 to 39 schools.

“Focus on Longmont”, a community-wide planning process, was undertaken to help the community deal with the problem of ensuring provision of vital services without growth revenue. Longmont expects to reach build-out in about ten years. It is through this proactive effort that the community hopes to prevent major economic challenges in the future.

SOMOS, Spanish for “We Are,” was created to address any issues that develop between the Latino community and the Longmont Police. It is a process which allows Latino community members to bring issues they have with the police department to a confidential forum for mediation by one or more bilingual mediators.

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Part II - Community Background and Community Challenge Section