Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere and Aguadilla (PR) Mayor Carlos Méndez Martínez have been awarded first place honors in the 2019 City Livability Awards Program during The U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 87th Annual Meeting in Honolulu.
The award recognizes mayoral leadership in developing and implementing programs that improve the quality of life in America’s cities, focusing on the leadership, creativity, and innovation demonstrated by the mayors. This year’s winning cities were selected by former mayors from a pool of over 150 applicants.
“Our City Livability Awards Program gives us the chance to celebrate the extraordinary role mayors across the country play in making urban areas cleaner, safer, and more livable,” said Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “We are grateful to Waste Management for its many years of support for the City Livability Awards Program, and for the opportunity to showcase the innovation and commitment of mayors and city governments across the country.”
This is the 40TH year in which cities have competed for the award, which is sponsored by the Conference of Mayors and Waste Management, Inc., the nation’s largest environmental solutions provider.
Susan Moulton, Waste Management’s Senior Director of Public Sector solutions, presented the City Livability Awards during today’s annual luncheon in Honolulu, HI. “For 30 years, Waste Management has had the distinct pleasure of sponsoring the City Livability Awards that recognize US Mayors who go above and beyond to keep their communities safe, healthy and thriving. Working alongside Mayors who strengthen their communities and enhance the lives of their residents motivates us to deliver innovative, safe and sustainable recycling and waste services the right way, every day.”
Please see below FIRST PLACE program descriptions:
- Plano’s (large city) Financial Literacy Initiative
The Plano Financial Literacy Initiative seeks to help Plano residents gain knowledge and skills to build financial capability. The Plano Public Library (PPL) serves City of Plano residents and employees with financial education resources, programs, displays/exhibits, and wealth building classes. In 2014, Mayor Harry LaRosiliere initiated the Plano Mayor’s Summer Internship Program, which has since placed over 320 Plano high school students into paid internships at small and large companies, nonprofits and governmental agencies throughout Plano. A financial education element will be added to the program for summer 2019. In 2018, Mayor LaRosiliere launched a new component, Plano Families First, a large, day-long gathering supported by Plano businesses and the healthcare community to strengthen Plano families in need.
“We would like to thank Waste Management and the U.S. Conference of Mayors for acknowledging Plano’s Financial Literacy Program. We are honored to be recognized for the important work we are doing to empower our citizens to be the best stewards of their resources and to help them achieve economic success,” said Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere.
- Aguadilla , PR (Small City) Pintalto initiative
The Pintalto initiative, a collaboration of Aguadilla Mayor Carlos Méndez Martínez and architect Samuel Gonzalez, uses houses in the Cerro Cabrera area as a canvas to paint a mosaic of 14 murals which honor Aguadilla’s fishermen. Mayor Martinez knew the program would transform the city through beautification and public art, but this was also an opportunity to help the residents heal from Hurricane Maria. The Pintalto initiative was a community rehabilitation program, which included vegetation cleanup, and the removal of illegal landfills and debris from abandoned houses. Tourism has increased in the city. Approximately 10,000 monthly visitors tour the Cerro Cabrera area since the mural was painted. Small businesses managed by local residents have also been launched and are taking advantage of the new interest in the area.
“It is a great honor, a dream come true to demonstrate to my constituents that there is no city like Aguadilla. If we work together as a close community, we are able to achieve big things. This has been the fifth time Aguadilla has won a City Livability Award from the Conference of Mayors and Waste Management, and without a doubt it makes us proud to demonstrate that every single best practice is valuable,” stated Aguadilla Mayor Carlos Méndez Martínez. “When we put this into practice, using all the knowledge we have gained from participating in this program, we can improve the life of every citizen not only in Puerto Rico, but all over the USA, and perhaps the world. This recognition helps us to stimulate our dream of competition, understanding that every effort is worth it and demonstrates that our dream are seeds of our realities for all.”
In addition to the two top awards, Outstanding Achievement Awards were given to four cities with populations of 100,000 or more: Akron, Arlington (TX), Baton Rouge, and Mesa (AZ) and four cities with populations of less than 100,000 — Gulfport (MS), Lynn (MS), Plainfield (NJ), and West Sacramento.