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Community A Finalist For All-American City

INDEPENDENCE — The city of Independence’s can-do spirit and community engagement is being honored through a nomination — one of 25 cities nationwide — as an All-American City.    City officials are busily engaged in preparing for the National Civic League (NCL) All-American Cities convention in Denver from June 13-15, where the city’s delegation will have 10 minutes to tell civic league representatives why Independence deserves to win the award, and 10 minutes to answer any questions.    “It’s a very small amount of time,” said Marilyn Morton, city councilwoman.    In this competition, size does not matter. In 2007, the last time Independence was nominated for this award, the city of El Paso arrived with a delegation of 85 people, including a full mariachi band, Morton recalled.    “Even with all that, El Paso didn’t win,” she said. “One of the winners was a neighborhood association.”    What the city has done to improve its community and the quality of life for the people in it is more important than glitz and glamor, Morton said.    “It’s more about heart and what we can present in 10 minutes,” she said.    The things the National Civic League is looking for in this year’s awards are: civic engagement and collaboration, inclusiveness and diversity, innovation, and impact.    “They (people at the NCL) were particularly impressed with the impact of things in Independence,” Morton said. “Not, ‘We did this and now we have …,’ but, ‘We did this and this is how it impacts lives.’”    Shawn Irvine, Independence’s economic development director who assembled the application for nomination, used the examples of community-built parks, the partnership with Monmouth through MINET and downtown revitalization.    A $100 application fee was paid to be nominated.    Irvine said the city will win bragging rights if it brings home the award.    “It’s a national award, the oldest, most prestigious award a city can get,” Irvine said. “A lot of it is how each city chooses to use that status.”

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