The city of Danville’s “Safe & Sound Neighborhoods” program, a multifaceted initiative to stabilize the city’s most troubled neighborhoods, has been named the winner in its population category for the Virginia Municipal League’s 2012 Achievement Award.
Danville’s entry into the awards competition detailed efforts by the city to execute this comprehensive plan, one crafted initially in response to a spate of homicides in the north-central area of the city. The program addressed safety and security, property conditions, streets and public spaces, and quality of neighborhood life.
The “Safe & Sound Neighborhoods” program enjoyed extraordinary success – from cracking down on street crime and removing hundreds of inoperable vehicles and tons of trash, scrap metal and iron, to cleaning storm drains, improving street lighting and ending the string of homicides.
In selecting Danville’s program for its award, the awards competition judges said, “Its four elements – safety & security, property conditions, streets and public spaces, and quality of neighborhood life – illustrated the collaboration of the departments of Police, Public Works, Utilities, Inspections Division, Housing, Fire and Code Enforcement.”
The awards competition is divided into five population categories so that local governments compete with other local governments of comparable size. Danville’s entry was judged the best in the category for local governments that serve communities with a population between 35,001 and 90,000.
The entries were evaluated based on the following criteria:
• accomplishing projects and implementing programs that enhance the vitality and quality of life in cities, towns or counties;
• developing more innovative ways of delivering government services;
• implementing new or improved approaches in addressing a significant community need, or significantly improving an existing program;
• reflecting excellence in management;
• increasing citizen participation;
• striving toward higher service levels;
• possessing ideas and approaches that make a project or program relevant to other local governments;
• having a long-term value to the community; and
• showing a documented record of effectiveness that illustrates how a project or program has achieved its goals.
Danville officials were presented the award Sept. 25 during the Virginia Municipal League Annual Conference in Williamsburg.
The Virginia Municipal League is a statewide, nonprofit, nonpartisan association of city, town and county governments established in 1905 to improve and assist local governments through legislative advocacy, research, education and other services. The membership includes all 39 cities in the state, 159 towns and 10 counties.