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City of Demopolis presented with “Alabama communities of Excellence” signage

Contributed Report

DEMOPOLIS-An “Alabama Community of Excellence” sign was presented to Demopolis Mayor Cecil P. Williamson, Jay Shows and the City of Demopolis at their meeting last night in recognition of Demopolis earning the “Alabama Community of Excellence” designation.

Joe Sumners, Director of the Auburn University Economic Development Institute and Alabama Communities of Excellence Vice President presented the sign.

The sign, which will be posted at the city’s gateway, is part of the recognition earned from the successful completion of the ACE program, a comprehensive three-phase approach to economic and community development for cities with populations between 2,000 and 12,000.

In addition to the gateway sign, other recognition included a framed designation certificate signed by Gov. Bob Riley and ACE President Nisa Miranda (also presented at the meeting) and a $5,000 grant from ACE, which was presented by Miranda and Gov. Riley during a May 23 graduation ceremony.

This grant is designated to be used in funding a priority economic and community development project as identified in the strategic plan prepared during the ACE program.

Twenty-six communities applied for acceptance into the ACE program in 2003 the program’s pilot year. The City of Demopolis was one of eight cities selected.

Sumner said Demopolis had gone above and beyond what they had been asked to do.

“The two main criteria used in selecting ACE participants were the level of local commitment to the ACE program and the communities capacity to support the ACE program,” Sumners said. “The City of Demopolis not only met those criteria, but exceeded them.”

Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce President and local ACE Coordinator Jay Shows said the timing was just right for such a designation.

“The ACE program opportunity came about at a perfect time for us,” Shows said. “Many people in Demopolis had expressed a desire to keep the city moving in a positive direction. The ACE program was perfect for us in that it helped us to define our direction and gave us benchmarks to work toward.”

Sumners said working with local leaders had been a pleasure.

“I had the privilege to serve as the ACE Team Captain for the City of Demopolis and work directly with the mayor, Jay Shows and your local volunteers,” Sumners said. “I was able to see firsthand the outstanding commitment, cooperation and team work displayed by this group. This designation would not have been possible without their time and efforts.”

Four of the original eight communities have now successfully completed all three phases of the ACE program and been designated Alabama Communities of Excellence. Those communities are Demopolis, Guin, Haleyville and Monroeville.

Sumners said he was pleased with what the city had been able to accomplish.

“We are so proud of the City of Demopolis for successfully completing all three phases of the ACE program,” Sumners said. “Your hard work and efforts towards community development is to be commended.”

Sumners said he would also like to thank their ACE partners for providing funding and expertise for their program.

“Without their contributions, this program would not be possible,” Sumners said. “And a special thanks to Auburn University’s Economic Development Institute for allowing me to serve as your team captain.”

To maintain the Alabama Community of Excellence designation, a community must be recertified every three years. According to Sumners, the City of Demopolis and the other 2005 Ace graduated will be eligible for recertification in 2008.