June 18, 2003 By Government Technology
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Leaders in small cities and towns across the country are planning events for June 20 to mark the third annual National Small Cities and Towns Day. The event, sponsored by the NLC Small Cities Council (SCC) and endorsed by the NLC Board of Directors, is designed to celebrate the accomplishments and successes of America's small cities and towns, and highlight the importance of federal-local partnerships that strengthen communities.
SCC Chair Brenda Barger, mayor of Watertown, S.D., called on the leaders of America's small communities to acknowledge the day by issuing a proclamation, convening a community event, or sharing examples of success stories in their community.
More than 100 small cities and towns across the United States have proclaimed June 20 National Small Cities and Towns Day. Many of them have highlighted specific federal-local partnerships that have benefited their communities.
Winter Garden, Fla., for example, has benefited from several federally funded police grants. The city used $24,000 of Local Law Enforcement Block Grant funds to purchase software for driver's license status verification and traffic violation citations. Other federal grants, totaling nearly $45,000, have allowed the city to purchase bulletproof vests for all officers, provide gang resistance training and purchase equipment to help enforce drunk driving laws.
These federal funds have been instrumental in providing protection for Winter Garden citizens and police officers alike. The programs demonstrate how the entire community benefits when the federal and local governments work together.
Likewise, Paducah, Ky., uses federal support to help implement its ambitious Greenway Trail System plan. The trail system will provide a non-motorized transportation alternative for the community, eventually linking a nature preserve and three city parks to the city's downtown riverfront. Already Federal Highway Administration money totaling $150,000 has been earmarked for property acquisition and construction costs.
Countless other small cities and towns like Higginsville, Mo., Muscle Shoals, Ala., and Norton Shores, Mich., partner with the federal government to enhance the quality life in their communities. Community Development Block Grants, Airport Entitlement funding, USDA grants, Justice Department grants, and Army Corps of Engineers funding are just a few of the ways federal support helps these and other small cities and towns remain strong.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.