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City strives for excellence

Published 10:12am Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Alabama Communities of Excellence program chooses city for 2013 class

Alexander City is on its way to excellence – as determined by a statewide community development program.

Alabama Communities of Excellence has selected Alexander City to be part of the 2013 class, making the community one of six to be chosen for the three-phase process.

“You submit an application plan, and they review those and select certain communities,” explained Randy Thomas, Alexander City community developer. “We’re very confident that it won’t be that big of a process for us. We will not be reinventing the wheel.”

Also chosen to participate in the ACE program were Elba, Fairhope, Helena, Rainsville and Saraland.

The program includes three phases, as described at

n Phase I: Assessment, which includes the application process, selection process and detailed community assessment by ACE team members. A comprehensive “report card” detailing community assets, weaknesses and recommended strategy and actions is prepared.

n Phase II: Leadership Development and Strategic Planning, which includes creation of an ongoing Leadership Development Program and development of strategic plan.

n Phase III: Implementation and Comprehensive Planning, which addresses comprehensive planning, commercial business development, education enhancement, infrastructure, health and human services, retiree attraction, tourism, economic development and quality of life/recreation issues.

Completion of the program results in a designation of an Alabama Community of Excellence.

“It’s a designation that lets industry know that you have everything in place to support new or expanded industry,” Thomas said. “Most everything that their process includes, we are currently doing.”

ACE’s website said communities are encouraged to complete the process within three years. Thomas said Alexander City is just waiting to hear back from ACE on with whom they will be working as part of the program.

“They’ll be putting together a team to work with all communities on the ACE process,” Thomas said.

ACE was created in 2002 as a nonprofit corporation to provide participants with community development programs and tools needed to ensure long term success, according to the program website. It is geared toward communities with populations of 2,000 to 18,000.

“This selection process was long and involved hard work on the part of our city clerk, Harriet Scott, and our director of community development, Randy Thomas,” said Mayor Charles Shaw. “I am grateful for their efforts and thrilled that Alexander City has been selected as an Alabama Community of Excellence. In the near future we will begin working on the next steps in the process, which will result in future community development programs and tools needed to ensure our city’s long term success.”