By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
Imperial went three for three in the 46th annual Nebraska Community Improvement Program (NCIP) competition this year.
All three categories in which the city had entries resulted in awards for the city and the community betterment projects completed the past year.
Awards were announced in Kearney Friday night, which capped the second annual Governor’s Conference on Rural Development that day.
NCIP recognition received by Imperial included:
— First place (tie) Founders Award for the collaboration between Chase County Schools (CCS) and Mid-Plains Community College (MPCC) on piloting the Career Academy Program at CCS. A student in the Career Academy Program can earn both a high school diploma and associate’s degree after a “fifth year” of high school.
The Founders Award recognizes one outstanding intergovernmental project or program in the state that encompasses creative collaboration between governments. There is just one division and normally there is just one winner from towns of all populations. David City tied with Imperial this year for the Founders Award.
— First place Special Award, Class III (pop. 1,700 to 5,000), in the parks, recreation and environmental awareness division for Phase I Campbell Park improvements. This division includes just one winner per population division.
In this Special Award category, the city highlighted installation of the new playground equipment in Campbell Park, the grand opening celebration at the new pool and demolition of the old pool.
— Third place, Class III, Governor’s Community Spirit Award, given for overall excellence in community and economic development the past year. In addition to reviewing a 25-page notebook of information, judges were in Imperial Oct. 13 and toured the city, visited with the NCIP committee on projects and asked questions about city improvements.
All three awards came with plaques, and a $200 cash prize also came with the Governor’s Community Spirit third place. That money will be earmarked for NCIP projects in the coming year.
Leslie Carlholm, the city’s community development director, said Imperial’s NCIP awards this year are a great opportunity to showcase some of the achievements in Imperial resulting from the cooperation of several organizations working together.
“The NCIP is a great way to promote communities across the state,” she said.
She was especially pleased with the Founders Award and to see CCS and MPCC recognized for the Career Academy Program.
Jo Leyland, city clerk/administrator, said she and others on the committee know Imperial is a great community, “and now others will, too.”
Seeing the community improvement projects entered from other towns also provides ideas for future improvements here, Leyland added.
The NCIP committee has already started work on the 2010 program. One event they are working on with other community volunteers is the city’s 125th birthday celebration, set for July 2-4, 2010.
The NCIP is a program of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.
Rural development conference
During the day Friday, Imperial NCIP committee members attended the Governor’s Conference on Rural Development, also in Kearney.
They attended a variety of workshops including “What Makes a Small Community Successful?” “Preserving Community Character,” “Surviving the Current Economic Climate,” and more, including sessions on technology, online marketing tools and website content.
Opening session keynote speaker was Terry Jones, founder and former CEO of Travelocity.com.
Representing Imperial at the conference and NCIP awards banquet were Leslie Carlholm, Jo Leyland, Mary Deyle, Dianne Way and Jan Schultz. Other committee members include Merrilyn Leibbrandt and Brenda Ledall.