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Honored Across America

National Civic League says Eau Claire among 10 best cities

Tom Giffey

FEATHER IN OUR CAP. Eau Claire’s delegation wowed the judges with a low-tech presentation to win one of the National Civic League’s All-American City Awards on Jun. 15 in Denver, Colo.
FEATHER IN OUR CAP. Eau Claire’s delegation wowed the judges with a low-tech presentation to win one of the National Civic League’s All-American City Awards on Jun. 15 in Denver, Colo.

As Midwesterners, we Eau Clairians typically stay humble about our hometown. If there’s ever a time to brag, however, it’s now: On June 15, Eau Claire was one of 10 winners of the National Civic League’s prestigious All-America City Award. In other words, Eau Claire is among the crème de la crème out of thousands of cities in our nation. After the city was named among 25 finalists for the annual award, 18 city representatives journeyed to Denver to talk up our town’s virtues in front of a panel of municipal experts. Other than a single boombox (which pumped the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” at a crucial moment), multimedia tools were forbidden during the presentation. That meant the EC crew – which included members of the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Eau Claire program, Visit Eau Claire representatives, some city officials, and others – had to rely on costumes (including a Paul Bunyan beard), props (including giant “storybooks”), and tales of Eau Claire’s recent successes, namely the redevelopment of Phoenix Park, the creation of a health chapter for the city comprehensive plan, and the Clear Vision civic engagement effort. Because the Eau Claire presentation was last, “We knew we had to do something unique,” says Julie McFadden, co-captain (with Kelly Taylor) of the Leadership Eau Claire team that applied for the award. The trick: Getting the delegation from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to dance along in their seats at the end of Eau Claire’s presentation. “It was a good sign that the judges were taking pictures,” McFadden explains. City officials hope the All-America honor boost’s Eau Claire’s profile and helps lure visitors and businesses.