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Richmond's National Park is a Finalist In Award for Municipal Excellence
September 06, 2006

The National League of Cities has designated Richmond a finalist in the 2006 Awards for Municipal Excellence competition. The awards program identifies and showcases outstanding city and town programs that improve the quality of life in Americaís communities.

The finalists were recognized in Nationís Cities Weekly (http://www.nlc.org/content/Files/NCW090406.pdf).

Winners of this award exemplify excellence in city governance, best practices in municipal policy, and models to follow to improve the lives of their citizens. 

Nominated programs are judged on several criteria: successful public-private partnership ventures; productive citizen and community collaborations; effective management of municipal resources (public or private); innovative government policies; project implementation with tangible results; and the ability to replicate the project in other cities.

The programs are evaluated by a panel of judges. Eight winners are chosen from four population categories, with a gold and silver winner in each category.  The winning cities are nationally recognized and celebrated during NLCís Congress of Cities Conference and Exposition held in November or December of each year.  In addition, winners receive a donation to a local non-profit organization of their choice. 

A copy of the Richmond nomination is attached, and a story in todayís West County Times follows:

Park on list of best city programs
RICHMOND: Rosie the Riveter facility, a monument to WWII efforts, is nominated for national recognition


Richmond's Rosie the Riveter park, a monument to the city's contribution to the World War II effort, is a finalist for a national excellence award.

The National League of Cities is considering the park for the 2006 Municipal Excellence Award. The nomination, in the midsized city category, is the only one from Contra Costa County among 57 finalists selected for outstanding programs that demonstrate public-private partnerships and innovative government policies.

Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historic Park, which celebrates workplace diversity, innovative child care programs and the country's first group medical insurance, is competing against cities in 38 states. Other applications include economic development programs, new water quality control facilities, affordable housing developments and summer youth programs.

The awards will be announced in December at the League's Congress of Cities and Exposition in Reno.

Rosie the Riveter park opened to visitors in 2003, though it is still a work in progress. The park's general management plan has not been approved and there are several key sites -- such as the Kaiser Field Hospital and the Maritime Child Development Center -- that have yet to be renovated for public access.

But when the park is complete, it will be the national focal point for World War II homefront war efforts, said City Councilman Tom Butt, who helped work on the award application.

"For Richmond, this is huge," he said. "Ultimately this park will be one of the things visitors to the San Francisco Bay Area will put on their itinerary."

The National Park Service manages the park, but it is the result of a grass-roots effort that included dozens of community members, elected officials and businesses.

"It was the incredible community effort that got the attention of the National Park Service," said Park Ranger Elizabeth Tucker. "The community put the spotlight on the potential for a park."

Rosie the Riveter park currently consists of nine sites that have wartime significance. They include Terminal 3, the permanent home for the Red Oak Victory ship; the original Kaiser Field Hospital; the Ford Assembly Building; and the Rosie the Riveter memorial, a stainless-steel sculpture that evokes a ship's hull.

Richmond was essentially defined by the World War II homefront war effort. Almost overnight, the city's population went from 20,000 residents to more than 100,000 as people migrated from around the country, many from the South, for jobs in the Kaiser Shipyards.

The homefront war effort was the catalyst for a number of firsts that many Americans now take for granted. It was the first time that women and minorities were successfully integrated into the work force, which laid the ground work for the civil rights and women's movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Government-funded child care, essential for supporting women in the work force, was established for the first time, as was the first company-based medical insurance plan for workers.


See Turning Rust Into Rosie

The Rosie the Riveter Trust: www.rosietheriveter.org

The Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Park: www.nps.gov/rori