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Honor bestowed for civic engagement practices that are 'inspirational, inclusive and promising in their ability to unite members of the community collectively and collaboratively.'

The city of Cornelius is among just 10 U.S. cities to receive the 2019 All-America City Award.

AAC finalists gave community presentations to a jury panel June 22 and 23, and winners were selected shortly after. Presentations from 20 of the United States' top cities included everything from skits to heartfelt stories about bringing projects and communities to life by addressing local health disparities through collaboration.

AAC awards are given to communities that demonstrate civic engagement practices that are "inspirational, inclusive and promising in their ability to unite members of the community collectively and collaboratively," according to the National Civic League, which sponsors the award.

This year's winners focused specifically on creating healthy communities. Cornelius was praised especially for responding to its changing demographics by bringing residents together.

Cornelius City Manager Rob Drake said the city is working on several projects aimed at making Cornelius a welcoming community that celebrates its diversity. More than half of Cornelius' 12,400 residents are Latino, and as these demographics continue to shift, the city remains responsive, Drake said.

The city's comprehensive downtown redevelopment plan, which aimed to enhance economic growth; new library and learning center construction; and police department reform were all cited by the National Civic League as additional reasons for the win.

"In the past seven years, we have added multiple opportunities for the community to gather for positive and healthy reasons," Drake said. "Among the events we have added include the Community Thanksgiving Dinner, Holiday Tree Lighting, Take Care of Cornelius Clean-up Day, a Veterans Day Event in partnership with the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, Spanish-speaking town halls, Flicks in the Park and Concerts in the Park."

Other winning cities include Battle Creek, Michigan; Dubuque, Iowa; Gothenburg, Nebraska; Lancaster, Texas; Mission, Texas; Rancho Cordova, California; Rock Hill, South Carolina; West Hollywood, California; and Wichita, Kansas.


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