El Cerrito's multi-year upgrade of San Pablo Avenue has received a prestigious award from the leading professional organization for local government administrators.
"I'm thrilled to announce that the city has won the International City/County Management Association's Program Excellence Award in Community Sustainability for the San Pablo Avenue Streetscape Project," Assistant City Manager Karen Pinkos told the City Council Tuesday night.
"This is the city's first ICMA award," she said. "We're very excited about it."
The $6.6 million streetscape project saw a broad makeover of the city's main commercial thoroughfare with new medians, crosswalks, landscaping, benches, bike racks, trees, , and designed to recycle and filter storm run-off. It also includes a public art component – a dozen – that have not yet been installed.
Melanie Mintz, the city's manager of environmental services, "deserves big accolades" for the project, Pinkos said. Mintz played a leading role in the project's development and execution.
On May 14 last year, the city held a "Spring Fling" street party to celebrate completion of the streetscape project, except for the public art, which had been delayed.
"The goal of the project," according to the city's Web site, "is to identify El Cerrito as a distinct place along the Avenue, enhance the economic vitality of the area, and create a better walking environment."
City Manager Scott Hanin will accept the award on behalf of the city at the ICMA annual conference in October in Phoenix, AZ, Pinkos said.
Hanin, Pinkos and Mintz are ICMA members representing the city. The 98-year-old organization reported 8,338 members in the United States and 353 internationally as of last year.
El Cerrito's award was for cities with populations between 10,000 and 49,999. Awards are given also to cities of less than 10,000 and to those of 50,000 and more. In addition to Community Sustainability Awards, cities receive awards in three other categories: Community Health and Safety, Community Partnership, and Strategic Leadership and Governance.
The Community Sustainability category "recognizes the innovative local government programs or processes that demonstrate innovation, excellence, and success in balancing that community's social, economic, environmental, and cultural needs," according to memo from Hanin to the council.
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