Lakewood selected as finalist for resident engagement award

Cities of Service Engaged Cities Award to be given in October

Posted 7/3/19

The creation of Lakewood’s Sustainable Neighborhoods Program in 2012 was a success from the get go. The resident-driven program that gives Lakewood citizens a chance to be active in making the city …

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Lakewood selected as finalist for resident engagement award

Cities of Service Engaged Cities Award to be given in October

Posted

The creation of Lakewood’s Sustainable Neighborhoods Program in 2012 was a success from the get go. The resident-driven program that gives Lakewood citizens a chance to be active in making the city more sustainable and vibrant, has helped Lakewood become more environmentally friendly.

Thanks to the program, Lakewood now helps support resident-driven sustainability initiatives by offering tools and support, helping neighborhoods identify areas of need, finding resources and expertise, and implementing projects.

The collaborative effort between government and citizens is not going unnoticed.

Lakewood was selected as a finalist for the Cities of Service Engaged Cities Award, a program that recognizes cities who work to partner with residents and solve problems. The award is also meant to show other cities best practices and similar answers to common problems.

The award is distributed through Cities of Service, a nonprofit organization that aims to help mayors build stronger communities. Cities of Service will select three winners in October, and it will award a total of $200,000.

“The (finalist cities) show the power of working alongside their residents to improve lives and provide a model for others to follow,” said Cities of Service Executive Director Myung J. Lee.

Through Lakewood’s Sustainable Neighborhoods Program, projects have helped to reduce waste, better energy efficiency and increase the tree canopy.

“It’s helping address a whole range of community goals that include fostering local food production, increasing the use of clean energy, reducing air pollution and even bringing healthier meals to school students. What I love most is that it’s building a deep sense of community because neighbors are meeting and getting to know each other,” said Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul.

In Belmar, Sustainable Neighborhoods Program member Doug Wells has been working on sustainable projects since 2012. He says some residents don’t have a backyard, and the neighborhood’s sustainable program secured a community garden through a partnership with mindSpark Learning — a Lakewood based organization that works to empower educators with industry-oriented learning experiences. Today, the community garden has 20 individual garden plots, Wells says.

“What the city has done is provide a conduit for residents to work together on things that they care about. It really has been a phenomenal program, and the leadership and the help of city staff has been a big help in all of us accomplishing (sustainability) projects,” said Wells.

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