Aumsville - A City of Merit
HAVE YOU CHECKED OUT THE SUMMER RECREATION PROGRAM COORDINATED BY AUMSVILLE'S PARK AND RECREATION COMMISSION?
The City of Aumsville received a huge award in September, 2012. The League of Oregon Cities, during their Annual Conference, awarded the City of Aumsville the “Award for Excellence” in recognition of its “Free Summer Recreation Program.”
The city, through their Park and Recreation Commission (PARC), has put together a summer of free day camps for children in our local area. In 2012 they had more than 250 children. The children play outdoor games, create craft projects, are read to and, depending on the week, are taught many things by special speakers. The lessons in summer 2012 ranged from gardening, to recycling, to healthy living, to developing good friendships, to playing fairly, and being considerate of others and included presentations by the local Boy Scouts about outdoor survival and basic first aid.
We do not have a local library in Aumsville and the school can no longer afford to stay open for a summer reading program. To make up for this, a free book was given to each child who attended every single week and the city started their own summer reading program. In addition, to a summer full of day camps, the city provided local area concerts and free movies in the park on Friday evenings. These events are free to all families from our area. The city PARC was able to do through business sponsorships, book grants from FirstBook, donated supplies, money, many volunteer hours and funds raised through fundraising such as this raffle. This award is well-deserved, especially for those who invested so much time and energy to make the program a big success! We celebrate them and their achievements.
AUMSVILLE HAS AN AWARD WINNING NEWSLETTER!
City of Aumsville receives Good Governance Award from the League of Oregon Cities
The League of Oregon Cities presented its 2009 Good Governance Award to the City of Aumsville during its 84th Annual Conference in Portland. This award, created in 1998, honors city programs that unite citizens within a community. Aumsville was recognized for its comprehensive and popular monthly newsletter. It being filled each month with local government news, current happenings, upcoming community events, monthly columns, fraternal club and group updates, inspirational and humorous quotes; and helpful info, just for fun, and paid articles and advertising. With the local post office, school district, fire district, and some public and private agencies are given the opportunity to publish for free. There’s a family fun page with activities for children, a crossword, a word search, and even a recipe corner. A “Good to Know” section offers everything from cleaning suggestions to when the local county park will open for fishing. There is a page with listings for volunteer activities. The newsletter has become an excellent communication and education tool that promotes and elevates citizen connection and involvement.
About the League of Oregon Cities
Founded in 1925, the League of Oregon Cities (LOC) is a voluntary association representing all 242 of Oregon’s incorporated cities. The LOC helps city governments serve their citizens by providing legislative services, policy setting, intergovernmental relations, conferences and training, technical assistance and publications. In addition to winning the Good Governance Award at this year’s conference, the city received a Certificate of Recognition for Excellence for the City Hall/Police Complex project, and two “Gold” City County Insurance Services awards for Safety and 100% staff participation in the Wellness Program.
The city has received two prior Awards For Excellence - one for their Visioning Plan in 2000 and one for their collaboration with Cascade School District on the Childhood Development Center in 2004.
There existed a critical need in the Aumsville area for a centrally located facility to house a Cascade Community, Family and Child Development Center (Center). The Center houses a Teen Parent Program, low-income preschool and daycare, Early Intervention Program, Special Education Program for 0 - 5 year olds and Parent Connection workshops/support groups. James McBride, Cascade School District Superintendent, contacted Mayor Harold White for assistance in development of the Center. The Aumsville City Council and staff then went to work on obtaining a grant for the project, in collaboration with the school district. The Oregon Economic Development Department awarded a $600,000 Community Development Block Grant to the city of Aumsville to develop the Center. The school district paid the balance of the $1,320,296 in project costs from state lottery money, and they donated approximately three acres of land to construct the Center adjacent to the Aumsville Elementary campus. City staff continued their work through the construction and grant closeout process. Oregon Economic Community Development Department's Sarah Garrison commented: "Department staff has appreciated the cooperation of city officials and staff during the course of the project. We are pleased to have had a part in helping your community." The city owns the Center as the fiscal agent for the project until August 30, 2007, when the property will be under the sole ownership of Cascade School District.
The Center opened in January 2002 and offers space the school district did not currently have, as well as, adequate facilities to meet Federal and State goals for teen parents and early intervention programs. The Center includes a community multi-purpose room; computer lab; five classrooms, including a teen parent classroom and nursery with an infant sleeping room; kitchen; a conference room for parent and agency meetings; one therapy and public health room; laundry facilities; offices for staff and staff workroom; restrooms; storage; and a fenced 12,000 square foot outdoor playground. The Center is within walking distance of low-income housing and the school district provides all necessary transportation.
Existing services were previously housed in crowded conditions in Aumsville and Turner Elementary Schools. The great majority of the participants in these programs, offered by the Center, have been identified as being below the poverty level. The area has a long history of poverty and currently has 74.3 percent of population at low/moderate income. With a permanent, larger facility, the programs are able to offer low-income families a stable environment in which to learn and grow. Group and individual training is available to all enrolled families, as well as low-income members of the community. A partnership is entered into with the family to complete a self-assessment and set goals. This information, coupled with community needs, shapes the directions of the family service portion of the local programs. Low-income citizens are able to take advantage of adult training sessions, located in a central service area. State and county are able to work with families without having to deal with transportation barriers.
Participants in the Teen Parent Program receive support from Adult and Family Services, WIC, National School Lunch Program, counseling sessions donated from Marion County Public and Mental Health, Healthy Start, and Willamette Education Service District, who donates a teen parent advocate that spends approximately 18 hours a week at the program. The Teen Parent Program gives students a chance to get their high school diploma or GED gaining the necessary skills to live and work independently. The program has been so successful that it has expanded to Mill City and Jefferson, thus making it more of a regional program. The Parent Connection workshops/support groups meet one day a week, and this service is provided by the Education Service District and other agencies. It teaches parenting from speakers that donate their time and a meal is also provided using grant funding.
An awareness of the community, it’s needs, and the effects on low-income families allows the Cascade School District and Willamette Education Service District staff to empower families toward self-reliance. The services provide a vital link between families living in a rural area to various agencies. Many families would continue to struggle without necessary agency services, which might lead to high stress, mental illness, substance abuse, child abuse and domestic violence.
The city of Aumsville and the Cascade School District believe that quality education is a responsibility shared by the home, school, students, and community. The Center is an excellent example of a community endeavor to improve quality of life and learning opportunities. The Center makes the quality of life for Aumsville citizens, and education in the community, an exciting, dynamic process; as well as demonstrating a successful collaborative effort by the City of Aumsville and the Cascade School District!
A goal setting program was brought to the city council by Mayor Harold White in 1990 to meet the city’s need to plan for its short-term and long-term future. He set up regularly scheduled visioning meetings that allowed the public and private sector opportunity for input on city projects. The city council embraced the opportunity and worked diligently to envision goals, plan timelines and monitor achievements.
In November 1999, the city created, in house, a Visioning Plan working document that could be used by staff, council, commissioners and the public to carry out new objectives of collaborative teamwork, prioritization, budget coordination and celebration of results. The Visioning Plan is a communication tool that is updated regularly through email and council meetings. The simple format is easily understood. It documents and directs where the city wants to go in the future, assesses needs, coordinates funding, tracks progress and records projects that have been completed.
Projects are created, categorized, discussed and placed in 1-5 year, 5-10 year and 10-20 year goal sequences, so that they can be planned and budgeted. It encompasses the purposes, desired outcomes, strategies and goals for the water, sewer, streets, storm drainage and park systems; and the police department, public works department, city hall, downtown core, businesses, industry, subdivisions, school, youth, senior citizens and transportation into one working document. A compilation of completed projects is included in the plan. It tracks priority levels, work plans, needs basis, estimated costs, planning, design, contract schedules, funding and what the city has accomplished. The results of the tracking produces greater efficiency, organization and communication.
The Visioning Plan is an innovative way that organizes our municipal plans into one very simple, clear working document. Implementation of our visioning plan has saved staff time and improved communication and documentation. Our community, public officials, and staff have benefited from the improved organization and improved quality of municipal services. Better timeliness for financial investments and project completion has also been experienced.
The city is using the Visioning Plan so the council, planning commission, city engineer, and city staff can see a record of needs, developments, schedules and funding of projects; keeping abreast of municipal projects on a regular basis. It can also be used to evaluate and motivate the city staff and management.
The Aumsville Visioning Plan is an exceptional working document and other cities would benefit in implementing a Visioning Plan unique to their city.