Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Jun 24, 2018

Washington honored as All-Star Community

Oct 02, 2017
A contingent from Washington made of Brent Hinson, left, Jaron Rosien, Jan Gallagher, Bob and Millie Youngquist, Dick Gallagher and Mayor Sandra Johnson accepted the All-Star Communities award last Thursday at the Iowa League of Cities conference.

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


DAVENPORT — Washington City Administrator Brent Hinson believes this is a first for Washington when the city was honored during the Iowa League of Cities conference late last week as one of the frog 2017 All-Star Communities.

A plaque bestowing the honor was presented at the League’s Annual Conference & Exhibit, which was held in Davenport from September 27 to 29. Officials from the city were at the Awards Banquet to accept the award which recognized the Washington Area Performing Arts and Events Center. The All-Star Community Award is the most prestigious honor given by the League to cities. Winners were named in August, and Washington was among three of Iowa’s 943 cities to garner such recognition.

“We had a number of people there,” Hinson said. “We had our representatives from the city there. We alsop had Jan Gallagher, Bob Youngquist and Dick Gallagher there.”

Hinson said the award is given in different population categories and Washington was the winner in the 3,000 to 10,000 class.

The Washington Area Performing Arts and Events Center, which opened in the fall of 2016, started with a need for a high school auditorium. As the dream grew, a regional arts and events center took shape. Though attached to the Washington Community High School, the 700 seat auditorium is managed by a 28E Agreement between the city and school and serves as a regional center to highlight the performing arts.

In 2014, Washington School District voters passed the first bond referendum in about 50 years to provide $1.1 million to help fund the $17.4 million project, along with a $2.5 million grant from the Washington County Riverboat Foundation. The district also received an $800,000 Vision Iowa grant and many private donations to help fund the building. The center officially opened in September, 2016.

“It is a neat thing for the city and for the community as a whole,” Hinson said.

Hinson said he believes the city has applied for the award in the past, but not gotten it before. He said that he had applied when he was working for another city.

“it is pretty competitive, so they really liked our project and what we did,” Hinson said.

This year’s other All-Star Community Award winners are Center Point and Marion. The All-Star Community Awards program seeks to acknowledge and encourage excellence in local government and provides an opportunity for officials and staff of member cities to receive recognition for their superior and innovative efforts. In addition, the program provides a means for sharing Iowa’s best public service ideas and demonstrates that those involved with local government are progressive, caring and committed to their communities.

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