Two city of Allentown programs will be recognized next month with a Governor’s Award for Local Government Excellence.
The city’s Vision 2030 comprehensive planning effort was determined to best exemplify the theme of "Innovative Planning and Sound Land Use Practices." The nearly 250-page plan charts the city’s course for the next ten years.
The city’s “Healthy Kids Healthy Allentown” anti-hunger effort best exemplified the theme of "Health and Wellness Initiatives." Working together, partner organizations provided meals to approximately 100 locations during the summer of 2019, serving a total of 69,300 meals to youth, a 23% increase from the summer of 2018.
The award letters were signed by Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development Deputy Secretary Richard P. Vilello, Jr.
The Governor's Awards for Local Government Excellence recognize local officials for their successes in undertaking innovative initiatives to improve the quality of life in their communities. There is only one winner across the state in each of ten categories. Allentown is the only multiple winner.
The city will be honored at the official Local Government Day Awards Ceremony, which will be held on Wednesday, April 8, at the Governor's Residence.
“I could not be more pleased and honored,” said Mayor Ray O’Connell. “I congratulate DCED Director Leonard Lightner and his staff on the awards. Allentown Vision 2030 was a huge collaborative effort and DCED pulled it all together.”
O’Connell added, “The health bureau has enthusiastically tackled the issue of getting healthy meals to city children. I congratulate the staff and our many community partners in the summer meals program and our Firehouse Fridays program for their effort to reduce the incidence of child hunger.”
Allentown Vision 2030 provides a coordinated and collaborative approach for city departments and bureaus, and the city’s public, private, nonprofit, and institutional partners to work together on plan implementation.
Partnerships are critical to the success of Allentown Vision 2030 and are the foundation of the Plan. The city is committed to cultivating existing partnerships and exploring new and innovative ways to work together as we implement Allentown Vision 2030.
The Vision 2030 plan renewed engagement and dialog between the city and community. The city has more than 60 community members that have committed to being Community Ambassadors; Ambassadors to represent the City of Allentown and their neighborhoods, agreeing to be part of neighborhood planning working in conjunction with the bureau of planning on neighborhood planning, and the implementation of projects within their neighborhoods. The final version of the plan is being translated into Spanish.
The summer meals program sought to increase the approximately 8% of eligible children who received summer meals to 20%. Additional program sites made these meals easier to access and encouraged families and kids who struggle with food dollars and food insecurity to come to a site close to them for a free meal.