East-West Gateway Council of Governments (EWG) presented its annual Outstanding Local Government Achievement Awards to eight recipients during its 54th annual meeting held Nov. 13 at St. Louis Union Station, recognizing the region’s governments and officials for extraordinary achievements in public sector service, leadership, and collaboration.
“We are proud to present the 2019 Outstanding Local Government Achievement Awards and honor municipal, county, special purpose, and school district officials that exemplify the highest levels of excellence, expertise, and service,” said Jim Wild, EWG Executive Director.
This year’s winners included a diverse range of public officials, cities, and partnerships providing innovative service in areas such as public safety, workforce development, stormwater management, and multimodal planning.
Herb Simmons received a Gateway Lifetime Public Service awards for his substantial contributions to public sector leadership. Simmons has spent more than five decades in the field of emergency management and possesses unparalleled knowledge and insight on public safety. He is the current executive director of the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency.
Gerry Welch received a second Gateway Lifetime Public Service. Welch is the mayor of Webster Groves and has established an impressive record of local government leadership at the municipal, regional, and state levels. Welch has been a vocal advocate for issues related to sustainability, the arts and senior services, and she has played a key role in numerous programs that have benefited the city’s residents.
The city of Dellwood received an award for Exemplary Accomplishment by a Local Government Jurisdiction, Agency, or Individual. Thanks to the tireless efforts of elected officials and staff, Dellwood overcame limited resources and significant challenges to substantially improve quality-of-life for the city’s residents. By uniting the community behind a common vision, the city implemented a raft of infrastructure upgrades and made progress on a variety of important community development initiatives.
A second award for Exemplary Accomplishment by a Local Government Jurisdiction, Agency, or Individual went to the city of Wentzville Stormwater Program. The city of Wentzville Stormwater Program has established a standard for other cities to follow that will not easily be met, engaging over 16,000 young people and more than 12,000 community volunteers in numerous projects that will improve and maintain the health of the city’s waterways for decades to come.
The city of O’Fallon, Illinois, and the O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce received an Exemplary Collaboration, Partnership, or Regional Initiative award for the O’Fallon Downtown District. Eight years ago, the city and local businesses banded together to create a coordinated strategy for revitalizing the downtown area. Their efforts have transformed downtown O’Fallon from a forgotten commercial corridor to a bustling hub of energy, thriving center of commerce, and source of community pride.
A second award for Exemplary Collaboration, Partnership, or Regional Initiative went to the St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Department and the Southern Illinois University East St. Louis Center for the St. Clair County Head Start Apprenticeship Program. This innovative program trains parents with children enrolled in the Head Start program at the East St. Louis Center as early childhood educators while employing them as teacher’s assistants. The outcome is a unique “win-win-win” that benefits parents and children while addressing a critical workforce need.
STL.works received a third award for Exemplary Collaboration, Partnership, or Regional Initiative. STL.works is an unprecedented cross-sector collaboration of governments, businesses, nonprofits, and educators to connect job seekers with opportunities in the fields of manufacturing, trades, technology, and healthcare. More than 50 partners are helping guide this initiative, which will change the conversation around career possibilities and create a new generation of builders, doers and problem-solvers.
Finally, the St. Louis Downtown Multimodal Plan received an award for Leadership in Planning and Design Innovation. Adopted by the city of St. Louis in 2018, the Downtown St. Louis Multimodal Plan is a visionary transportation plan that seeks to enhance connections for pedestrian, bicyclists, transit users, and motorists of all ages and abilities. With the major changes to the downtown street grid in recent years, the plan ensures the region’s urban core will remain a vital place for commerce, entertainment, and recreation.
More detailed information on each of the award winners, along with brief video overviews of their work, is available on the Outstanding Local Government Achievement Awards section of the EWG website.