Tualatin is Named a Finalist in the America's Best Communities $10 Million Prize Competition
Tualatin, Ore., April 28, 2016 -- The celebration in Tualatin continues after being named one of eight finalists in the America's Best Communities (ABC) competition yesterday. Tualatin ABC Team Members Mayor Lou Ogden, John Bartholomew from Mask & Mirror Community Theatre and Bethany Wurtz from the Tualatin Tomorrow Vision Advisory Committee presented Tualatin's pitch to the panel of judges in a "Shark Tank" environment. The pitch was based on Tualatin's Community Revitalization Plan which was developed as part of the quarter-finalist round of the competition.
Tualatin's Community Revitalization Plan focuses 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 under served 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.
In the short-term Tualatin plans to build a mobile makerspace enabling students to create, build, and enjoy hands-on learning. Makerspaces are interdisciplinary innovation spaces dedicated to the art and science of manufacturing goods. The mobile makerspace will be scaled to serve students K-12 with special emphasis on elementary and middle school, girls, and minorities. Its unique attribute is mobility. It will literally roll to wherever the kids are; schools, neighborhoods, and community events, to maximize utilization. The team is working with employers to acquire equipment to outfit a trailer with computers for multimedia and CAD, 3D printers, various tools and equipment that will connect kids to the latest technology. Initial funding will be from the ABC award and local commitments.
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.
More than 350 communities nationwide entered the competition after its launch in 2014, and 50 were selected as quarterfinalists in April 2015, and this was narrowed to 15 semi-finalists in January 2016.
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.
"The feeling in the room was electric! You could just feel the passion each presenter felt when talking about their hometown," said team member Bethany Wurtz.
The America's Best Communities finalists are: Lake Havasu City, Arizona; Statesboro, Georgia; Valley County/Meadows Valley, Idaho; Chisago Lakes Area, Minnesota; Huntington, West Virginia; Darrington/Arlington, Washington; Tualatin, Oregon; and Madison, 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.
"We are so grateful to have stumbled upon this opportunity because it has helped us to discover an answer to a challenge we have faced for many years. This project is going to change people's lives," said Mayor Lou Ogden.
All eight finalists were awarded $100,000 to begin implementation of their plans. 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.
Tualatin River Greenway Receives Award for Excellence in Sustainability
The City of Tualatin, and Cardno, the lead design and engineering consultant, received an award for excellence in sustainability for green infrastructure for its new Tualatin River Greenway Shared Use Path project from the American Planning Association at the national planning conference in Phoenix, Arizona, on April 3, 2016.
The award honors projects, plans, policies, individuals and organizations whose work is dedicated to supporting and growing sustainable communities.
"This award recognizes Tualatin's support of environmentally sustainable approaches when building Tualatin's bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure," said Tualatin Mayor Lou Ogden. "The Tualatin River Greenway trail promotes health and wellness, provides a safe and enjoyable alternative to driving while improving connectivity with nature, residential areas, commercial developments and public facilities."
The new ?3/4 mile long bicycle and pedestrian trail connects the east and west areas of Tualatin from Barngrover Way to Nyberg Lane while running along the Tualatin River and crossing under Interstate 5. The trail fills a gap in a 4.7 mile segment of the Tualatin River Greenway that is located on the north and south banks of the Tualatin River as it passes through the cities of Tualatin, Durham and Tigard while connecting five major community parks and natural areas.
"The Oregon Department of Transportation is proud of the work accomplished by a group of dedicated professionals and partners not only to enhance transportation connections, preserve our environment, but create an experience that enriches our knowledge of the history and heritage of this land," said ODOT Director Matt Garrett.
The Tualatin River Greenway Shared Use Path project was partially funded through ConnectOregon V, an ODOT lottery-backed bond initiative to invest in air, rail, marine, transit and bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure to ensure Oregon's transportation system is strong, diverse and efficient. Other public and private partners of the $3.8 million project include Washington County, Metro Parks and Natural Areas, the Washington County Visitors Association, and the City of Tualatin.
A grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for the project will be held on Saturday, April 9 from 1:00 to 1:30 pm at Barngrover Way near the Tualatin Public Library. Free commemorative bandanas will be offered to everyone attending. Visit www.tualatinoregon.gov/recreation
for more information.