Atmore recognized for ‘excellence’

Published 3:33 pm Sunday, May 27, 2012

The City of Atmore successfully completed the ACE recertification process and sevenother Alabama communities (Arab, Childersburg, Eufaula, Foley, Hartselle, Livingston, and Montevallo) have been designated as an “Alabama Community of Excellence” after successfully completing the Alabama Communities of Excellence (ACE) program, a comprehensive three-phase approach to economic and community development for cities with populations between 2,000 and 18,000.

Recognized during the Monday, May 21 General Session of the Alabama League of Municipalities Annual convention held in Birmingham, the presentation of a plaque was made by Dr. Arturo Menefee, ACE President and Leadership Development Specialist at Auburn’s Economic & Community Development Institute and Ken Smith, ACE Partner and Executive Director of the Alabama League of Municipalities. Accepting the award on behalf of the City of Atmore were Mayor Howard Shell and Celia Lambert, ACE local coordinator.
“Communities with eligible populations must complete and submit an application in order to be considered for the ACE program,” Menefee said. “The two main criteria used in selecting ACE participants are, one, the level of local commitment to the ACE program, and, tow, the community’s capacity to support the ACE program. We are so proud of these communities for successfully completing all three phases of the ACE program and Atmore’s completion of the ACE recertification.Their dedication to community development should be commended.”

During the graduation ceremony, Menefee explained ACE’s three-phase approach.

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“Phase one is known as the assessment phase,” Menefee said. “During this time, a comprehensive report card detailing community assets and weaknesses is prepared and presented to the community along with recommended strategy and actions. During phase two, the leadership development and strategic planning component, each community must establish a leadership development program, prepare an up-to-date strategic plan, and identify a local ACE coordinator.”

According to Menefee, “phase three is the implementation and comprehensive planning segment. Issues addressed during phase three include comprehensive planning, commercial business development, education enhancement, infrastructure, health and human services, retiree attraction, tourism, economic development, and quality of life.”

To maintain the Alabama Community of Excellence designation, a community must be recertified every three years. Atmore has successfully completed the recertification process. The seven communities designated at the League Convention will be eligible for recertification in 2015.