American City & County’s 2020 Crown Communities Awards
Each year, American City & County gives its Crown Communities Awards to municipal and county governments that have substantially implemented innovative, impactful projects over the preceding 18 months. The projects are diverse in nearly all aspects, and they represent a wide array of local government disciplines. Competition among the nominees is typically tough each year, and this year was no different in terms of the competition between projects.
2020 however, was a very different year in many regards. Shelter-in-place orders, social distancing guidelines, mask mandates and general caution towards COVID-19 forced local governments to adapt existing programs to the pandemic’s new normal, while reassessing some projects’ implementation.
Accordingly, the pandemic influenced some of this year’s Crown Communities winning projects. One community’s project addressed COVID-19 head-on. Another project saw a significant setback due to the pandemic, which also influenced that project’s implementation. Yet another has still managed to flourish despite the pandemic.
In another instance of an atypical year, one of this year’s Crown Communities Awards winners is neither a municipality nor a county — it’s a joint powers authority that built an impressive municipal fiber network spanning its member county and 16 member cities.
Each year, we profile the winners of the Crown Communities Awards on our site. In our first year as a fully digital news outlet, we serialized the profiles of the six winners, publishing one profile of a winner each weekday between Feb. 26 and March 5 (in addition to the first profile coinciding with the awards announcement).
American City & County’s 2020 Crown Communities Winners are:
• City of Rock Hill, S.C.: My Ride (all electric, fare-free bus system)
• Harris County, Texas, Precinct 2: ACCESS2HEALTH SmartPod for COVID-19 testing
• City of Minot, N.D.: Phases 2 and 3 of the Mouse River Enhanced Flood Protection Plan
• South Bay Cities Council of Governments (Calif.): South Bay Fiber Network (municipal fiber network spanning one county and 16 cities)
• City of Gainesville, Fla.: Closure of Dignity Village tent city and housing its homeless population
• El Paso County, Texas: Pretrial justice modernization