Tualatin is Named a Semi-Finalist in the America's Best Communities $10 Million Prize Competition
Tualatin, Ore., Jan. 13, 2016 -- Celebrations are erupting in 15 communities across the country today as residents learn their hometowns are semi-finalists in the America's Best Communities (ABC) competition.
Tualatin's team was included among those semi-finalists with their Community Revitalization Plan focused on increasing opportunity and the standard of living for everyone in the community through advancing STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) education. While Tualatin continues to seek solutions to all community-defined needs and priorities described in the Tualatin Tomorrow Vision, the ABC initiative is hyper-focused on one specific target: connecting youth and underserved populations to STEAM education and CTE training that align with Tualatin's advanced manufacturing industry base. In addition to providing jobs and personal growth opportunities for residents, the plan will help the community begin to develop a workforce pipeline for a large cross-section of employers.
More than 350 communities nationwide entered the competition after its launch in 2014, and 50 were selected as quarterfinalists in April 2015. Each of the 50 was awarded $50,000 in seed money to develop a Community Revitalization Plan and were paired with a major Corporation that served as a strategic advisor as part of the competition's Adopt-a-Community Program. From this class of 50 quarterfinalist communities, the fifteen with the best plans -- those with the most innovative ideas being effectively executed -- were named semi-finalists today.
Tualatin's Team including the City, the Tualatin Chamber, Mask & Mirror Community Theatre, the Tigard-Tualatin School District, Tualatin Tomorrow Visioning Committee, South Metro-Salem STEM Partnership and other businesses and community members developed a community revitalization plan focusing on long-term and short-term goals. In the short-term, Tualatin's plan is to develop a mobile maker space and associated programming. Makerspaces are interdisciplinary innovation spaces dedicated to the art and science of manufacturing goods. Tualatin's plans to create a makerspace on wheels that can go out to schools, festivals, neighborhoods, businesses and more to offer Tualatin's youth opportunities for hands-on learning by combining manufacturing equipment, community, education and fun. Longer-term, Tualatin intends to supplement the mobile maker space with a permanent Community Career and Creative Center. The Center would provide space to add larger maker equipment, conduct classes and workshops and integrate performing arts.
The America's Best Communities semi-finalists are: Lake Havasu City, Arizona; Charleston, West Virginia; Statesboro, Georgia; Valley County/Meadows Valley, Idaho; Chisago Lakes Area, Minnesota; Huntington, West Virginia; Portsmouth, Ohio; DeKalb, Illinois; Fort Dodge, Iowa; Darrington/Arlington, Washington; Valparaiso, Indiana; Tualatin, Oregon; Wenatchee/East Wenatchee, Washington; Madison, Indiana; and Angola/Fremont, Indiana. Sponsored by Frontier Communications, DISH Network, CoBank and The Weather Channel, the America's Best Communities competition has dedicated $10 million in prizes and other support to spark economic revitalization in small towns and rural communities across the country.
"America's Best Communities has inspired towns and cities to come together in ways we never thought possible. People from all walks of life were united by this challenge to reimagine their future and reinvigorate their community. Already it has stimulated positive change and economic progress," said Frontier Communications Executive Chairman Maggie Wilderotter. "Great communities don't just happen. They are the result of people working together for the common good."
All 15 semifinalist communities will attend the America's Best Communities Summit April 26-27 in Durham, North Carolina, where they will present their proposals to a panel of expert judges and executives from the sponsoring companies and compete for additional financial support. At the end of the summit, eight communities will be named finalists and awarded $100,000 to bring their plans to life. In April 2017, the top three communities making the largest impact and showing the greatest potential for achieving sustainable revitalization will be selected as the grand prize winners. The first place community will receive $3 million, the second place community $2 million, and $1 million for third.
To learn more about Tualatin's plans, visit www.tualatinabc.org