HAMPTON -- The City of Hampton has a new title to hang on signs and plaster across city brochures: All-America City.
City leaders, staff and volunteers traveled to Denver to compete in the finals of the competition in June. It was one of ten localities to win All-America City status out of 25 finalists.
"It's something we can say to citizens, "You are a part of this'," said city spokeswoman Robin McCormick. "This is not an award the government won. This is an award that came to nonprofits, volunteers, churches, businesses, everybody working together."
The City of Portsmouth was one of those finalists and sent a 13-person contingent to Denver to compete for the title. It was not successful. Despite the loss, Rosylen Oglesby, an assistant to the city manager, said it was still a good investment for the city.
“It gives us an opportunity to showcase the great things that we’re doing in the City of Portsmouth and get us recognized across the nation as one of the localities out there doing inclusive and collaborative things,” Oglesby said.
Portsmouth spent $21,657.33 to send its delegation, which included city staff, students and local business leaders, to Denver. Document: See Portsmouth's spending for All-America City effort
Hampton spent a total of $33,549.54 but raised $9,922.54 in private donations, which means taxpayers forked out $23,537 to get its 22 representatives to Denver. Document: See Hampton's spending and donations for All-America City effort
Both figures are roughly double the amount that the City of Norfolk spent to send its delegation to Denver for the same award last year. Norfolk was named an All-America City in 2013 and spent a little more than $10,000.
While McCormick compared the award to being a football team that wins the Super Bowl or a movie that receives an Academy Award, she could not point to any direct benefit residents of Hampton get from living in an All America City.
“Once you say you’re a Super Bowl winner, an Academy Award winner, it doesn’t make the movie any better, but it might make people more willing to take a look at us,” McCormick said.
Oglesby had to think for a few seconds before answering the question on camera.
“We get a lot of benefits,” she said. “People get to hear our story, the things we’re doing to make our community great.”
The designation is given by The National Civic League to communities for outstanding civic accomplishments. For 2014, applicants had to focus on healthy communities–efforts to address challenges such as obesity, chronic illness, physical inactivity and the need for safe routes to school and walkable communities. communities.