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Awards and Honors

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The City of Roanoke has been recognized regionally and nationally for its outstanding quality of life:

The National Civic League named Roanoke an All-America City six times. Only one other city in the United States – Cleveland, Ohio – can make this claim to fame, and we’re proud to be at the top of the list.
    Our city was selected as one of "America's Most Livable Communities" by Partners for Livable Communities, a national, nonprofit organization working to restore and renew communities.
      Roanoke is a Certified Crime Prevention Community, a one-of-a-kind program of recognition created by the Governor's Partnership Commission for Community Safety.

      The City of Roanoke has also been recognized by the Governor of Virginia for its environmental stewardship.


      Complete list of Awards and Honors

      2014
        • Roanoke was recognized with the Outstanding Achievement Award in the 2014 City Livability Awards Program by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The Parks and Arts initiative was the city program highlighted for the award.
        • The 100 Best Fleets in North America Contest selected the city’s Fleet Management Division as one of theTop 100 Fleets in North America, out of 38,000 fleets in the United States and Canada.
        • Government Fleet magazine announced the Leading Fleets for 2014, and the City of Roanoke was among the top 50 named for this honor.
        • Roanoke Fire-EMS Swift Water Rescue Team received the coveted Higgins & Langley Award for their heroic efforts during the July 2013 flash flooding.
        • The City of Roanoke received the Government Finance Officers Association Distinguished Budget Presentation Award.
        • The Finance Department received the Government Finance Officers Association Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the city and its pension plan.
        • USA Today named the Roanoke Valley (including the City of Roanoke) as one of the 10 Best Bike-friendly Cities in the country.
        • Roanoke was named one of America's Best Small Cities on the Rise by Smarter Travel in July.
        • Roanoke was included in the Top 10 Valentine's Getaways - World Property Channel
        • ConventionSouth Magazine selected Roanoke as one of the Top 5 in its 2014 list of "The South's Cool Spots for Summer Meetings"

      2013
        • Roanoke was named a Top 10 Digital City (Center for Digital Government).
        • 2013 VML Green Government Challenge “Go Green” Gold Award.
        • Virginia Living magazine readers voted Mill Mountain Discovery Center as one of the Best Nature and Outdoor Museums in the region.
        • Roanoke was voted Best Trail Town by readers of Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine.
        • Convention South magazine editors named Roanoke Virginia’s “Southern Hospitality City.” Roanoke was also named to the Editors Hot Pick List of 15 “Southern Hospitality Cities.”
        • Next Great Neighborhood: Downtown Roanoke - Southern Living, November issue.
        • Roanoke was featured in "5 awesome and affordable drives" from TODAY Travel, November issue.

      2012
        • The National Civic League recognized Roanoke’s “Star City Reads” Campaign with a 2012 All America City Award. The campaign addresses readiness for kindergarten, absenteeism, and summer learning. This marks the sixth time Roanoke has earned this distinction – a feat achieved by no other city. Other years the city has won include 1952, 1979, 1982, 1988, and 1996.
        • Virginia Living magazine named Downtown Roanoke one of the “Best Shopping Areas” in Southwestern Virginia.
        • The renovation of the Roanoke City Market Building received the Public Works Project of the Year Award, a national recognition, from the American Public Works Association (APWA). The Roanoke City Market Building also received the APWA Mid-Atlantic Chapter’s “Project of the Year” regional award this year.
        • The Department of Management and Budget received the Government Finance Officers Association Distinguished Budget Presentation Award.
        • The Roanoke Police Department's social media initiative was a featured case study with the International Associations of Chiefs of Police (IACP) website, and a published article in the Police Chief Magazine in July 2011.
        • The City of Roanoke maintained its standing as a Top 10 Digital City for the 10th year.
        • The Eat for Education Campaign received three awards from the Public Relations Society of America: The Lin Chaff Award for Creativity (Blue Ridge Chapter); and the Award of Excellence in Community Relations, and the Best of Show for Public Relations Programs award (Richmond Chapter).
        • The National Complete Streets Coalition recognized the City of Roanoke’s Complete Street Policy as one of the nation’s leading examples of safe, smart transportation policy according to its recent nationwide analysis. Roanoke had the 10th highest score among over 350 complete streets policies evaluated nationwide.
        • Roanoke retained its Bronze status as a Bicycle Friendly Community for 2012.

      2011
        • A Top 10 Digital City (Center for Digital Government)
        • Main Library – Gold Award for Best Library Branch (Roanoker magazine’s Best of 2011)
        • One of the 100 Best Fleets in North America
        • Distinguished Budget Presentation Award -- FY 2010-2011 budget document (Government Finance Officers Association)
        • Roanoke Police Department's Cyber Community Policing initiative -- featured as a case study on the International Association of Chiefs of Police website and the subject of an article in the July 2011 issue ofPolice Chief Magazine.
        • E-911 Control Center re-accreditation as a National Public Safety Communications Agency (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies)
        • “Eat for Education” campaign -- Gold Summit Award for “best public relations campaign” (Public Relations Society of America’s Blue Ridge Chapter)
        • Award of Excellence for “Inside Roanoke” TV show (City-County Communications and Marketing Association)
        • Silver Summit Award for “Inside Roanoke” TV show (Public Relations Society of America, Blue Ridge Chapter)
        • Award of Distinction – “Eat for Education” Public Service Announcement (17th Annual Communicator Awards)
        • 2010 Municipal Calendar – Gold Summit Award (Public Relations Society of America, Blue Ridge Chapter)

      2010

      Communications
      Two of the city’s publications were recognized by the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Public Relations Society. The Municipal Calendar received the 2009 Silver Summit Award for Print Publications, and PLAY magazine received the 2009 Gold Summit Award for Print Publications.


      In addition the Communicator Awards, the leading international awards program honoring creative excellence for communications professionals, recognized the city’s Annual Report and Roanoke Citizen magazine with Gold Communicator Awards, and the Municipal Calendar with a Silver Communicator Award.


      Economic Development

      Roanoke was voted Number 2 in Kiplinger’s Best Cities Reader’s Poll award.


      Roanoke was a featured profile city on one of most read and influential technology blogs in the world, Techcrunch.com, just behind Philadelphia and Columbus, Ohio.


      Roanoke ranked among best places to open a restaurant per the Restaurant Growth Index, an exclusive market analysis report compiled by Nielsen Claritas.


      Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center is presented with their sixth Pride Award – awarded to the top 10 hotels within the brand – as well as Awards of Excellence in Hospitality, Food and Beverage, and Housekeeping


      Emergency Management

      The National Weather Service recognized the City of Roanoke as having earned StormReady Certification. Earning StormReady recognition indicates the city has done everything possible to improve emergency first responder and citizen preparedness in the event of a natural disaster. 


      Environment

      Roanoke named Bicycle Friendly Community - Bronze Status - by the League of American Bicyclists


      Roanoke’s Clean and Green Campaign was recognized as the "Most Sustainable Community Program in Virginia" by the Virginia Sustainable Building Network.


      Fire-EMS

      Roanoke Fire-EMS received the Governors Award for Fire Service Excellence – recognizing its Hiring Process.


      Libraries

      In May, Roanoke Public Libraries was featured in an online article for the Library Journal titled “Using Events to Redefine the Library.” The article applauded Roanoke Public Libraries for its use of events to redefine its libraries. 


      Management and Budget

      The city’s Department of Management and Budget received the Government Finance Officers Association Distinguished Budget Presentation Award.


      Parks and Recreation

      Roanoke Parks and Recreation was named a Start Smart All-Star Program by the National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS). The city’s Parks and Recreation Department is one of only two named from Virginia and one of only 40 named in the United States and abroad.


      Planning

      Roanoke's Residential Pattern Book won the 2009 American Planning Association Virginia Chapter Innovation Award and the Roanoke Valley Preservation Association Education Award


      Roanoke's Street Design Guidelines and Complete Streets Policy were sought out and selected by the American Planning Association (APA) for its "Essential Info Packet" for Complete Streets. The Essential Info Packet is a compilation of best practices publications on a cutting-edge topic of interest to practicing planners across the country. 


      Police

      In December, the Roanoke Police Department was featured in Police Chief magazine, published by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), for its innovation and advancements in eyewitness identification.


      The Police Department received second place in the Virginia Law Enforcement Challenge, which is an award program sponsored by the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police to recognize departments for their work to enhance traffic safety. The Roanoke Police Department competed against other police departments similar in size across the state.


      Technology

      The City of Roanoke was awarded 2
      nd Place in the Center for Digital City's Digital City Survey in the 75,000-125,000 population category.

      2009

      Parks and Recreation
            • The Virginia Recreation and Park Society Awards recognized Lick Run as the Best New Greenway.
            • Carvin’s Cove Conservation Easement received the Scenic Virginia Award.
            • Carvin’s Cove Conservation Easement earned the Environmental Stewardship Award.
      Planning
            • The city’s Residential Pattern Book won the state APA award for planning education.
      Environment
            • Stormwater Management program recognized by DHR.
            • Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award - Gold Award for the “Clean and Green” Campaign
            • Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award - Gold Award for the “Carvins Cove Easement” (April 1, 2009).
            • Virginia Recycling Association – First Place for “Outstanding Municipal Recycling Performance” for outstanding efforts towards recycling and waste reduction efforts administered by city government (May 5, 2009).
            • 2009 Annual Awards in the Community Sustainability Program Excellence Award category (September 13, 2009). The city has been notified by I.C.M.A. (International City/County Management Association) that it will receive first place in the Community Sustainability category – ICMA recognizes local government programs or processes that demonstrate innovation, excellence and success in balancing that community’s social, economic, environmental and cultural needs.

      2008

      Technology
        • Top Digital City - Roanoke won first place in the 2008 Digital Cities Survey, in the 75,000-125,000 population category. This is DoT's sixth first-place rankding in the eight years of the survey and its eigth straight top-10 finish.

      Public Safety
        • The Roanoke Police Department’s efforts to enhance traffic safety in the City of Roanoke were awarded in 2008 on a state and national level. The department received first place in the Virginia Law Enforcement (awarded by the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police) and second place in the National Law Enforcement Challenge (awarded by the International Association of Chiefs of Police).

      Environment
        • Virginia Municipal League’s 2008 Green Government Challenge – First Place and $2,500 award (October 24, 2008). Roanoke achieved the most points for any city of its size for adopting green policies and practices throughout its organization. Areas in which these actions were taken included energy efficiency, green buildings, waste management, vehicles, land use/transportation, water/air quality, employee incentives, education/community participation, schools, and innovation.
        • 2008 Silver Summit Award for Interactive/Audiovisual Projects by the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America for the “Clean and Green” Video (November 2008). This video is being shown to second- and third-grade students in Roanoke City Public Schools in coordination with the SOL requirements.

      2007
        • Expansion Management magazine's February 2007 issue named Roanoke one of its 50 Hottest Cities for attracting expanding companies in the US for the sixth time.
        • According to a 2007 study conducted by Dr. Ronald Pollina, an economist, the Commonwealth of Virginia holds the number one ranking among "Pro-Business States." The study covered 28 factors, including taxes, human resources, right-to-work legislation, energy costs, infrastructure spending, worker compensation and jobs gained or lost.
        • The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center received the prestigious Doubletree Pride Award in March 2007 for outstanding performance in 2006. The award is based on physical condition, cleanliness, brand compliance, guest satisfaction, guest loyalty, and 12 key service indicators.
        • Roanoke has been rated in the top five areas nationwide for retirees, according to the 2007 Best Cities report published in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine.
        • According to an analysis by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center published in Education Week, Virginia children are more likely to experience success throughout life than the average child born in the US. Virginia ranked first after 13 indicators, from a child's family income to adult educational achievement, were considered.
        • Two awards were received by City of Roanoke neighborhood organizations at the 2007 Virginia Statewide Neighborhood Conference. Old Southwest, Inc won Organization of the Year and The Hurt Park Healthy Living Program won Project of the Year Award.
        • Once again, the Center for Digital Government has named the City of Roanoke a Leading Digital City. Roanoke ranked second in the nation for 2007 in its population category of 75,000 to 124,999.

      2006
        • Delicious Living magazine selected Roanoke as a 2006 impressive city for its environmental friendliness. Specifically mentioned were the city's efforts to revitalize its neighborhoods through programs such as Southeast by Design, its encouragement of environment-friendly architecture, and its C2C competition for the latest in green-building design.
        • The Roanoke Times was first in the country among the 106 largest MSAs in percentage of total adults in its area reading a newspaper on weekdays, according to Scarborough's "Ranker Report". The newspaper ranked tenth (10th) in the country for the percentage of adults reading an average Sunday issue.
        • For fiscal year 2005-2006, the total value of construction in the city was $318,566,047.19, a new record. This amount was 67.96% more than fiscal year 2004-2005, when the total was $189,669,636.14.
        • The Roanoke metro area was given Expansion Management magazine's highest ranking, 5 stars, for the overall quality of the area's public schools in May 2006.
        • In June 2006, the Roanoke MSA was awarded 5 stars for its quality of life by Expansion Management magazine.
        • Expansion Management's 2006 Mayor's Challenge named Roanoke as one of its 4-Star Business Opportunities Metros in August 2006.
        • Parks and Recreation's Youth Services has been awarded the 2006 State Neighborhood Youth Group Effort of the Year Award at the Virginia Statewide Neighborhood Conference for its work on the city's first Comprehensive Youth Plan. The plan's goal is for Roanoke youth to thrive, and encourages all Roanoke citizens and organizations touching youths' lives to take ownership and commit to the spirit, focus areas and actions it defines.
        • Virginia was named the Best State for Business by Forbes.com in the US. Virginia ranked in the top ten in all six major categories including business costs, economic climate, growth prospects, labor, quality of life and regulatory environment. No other state scored in the top ten in more than three categories.
        • The Roanoke metro was named a four-star logistics metro by Expansion Management magazine for its transportation network in October 2006.
        • For the fifth time in six years, the Center for Digital Government has named the City of Roanoke as a Top Digital City. For 2006, Roanoke tied with Ogden City, Utah, in its population category.

      2005

      2004
        • Expansion Magazine's January 3, 2004, issue named Roanoke as one of the fifty hottest cities for expansions and relocations. It ranked at number 37.
        • Roanoke was ranked 39 of 276 metropolitan areas by Inc. Magazine's March 2004 Top 25 Cities for Doing Business in America in the Most Balanced Economy and Growth category.
        • In the publication, Cities Ranked and Rated for 2004, Roanoke was listed at 11th in the nation. When asked, the authors stated, these areas have favorable business climates, leading to favorable economic cirumstances for their residents. They are physically attractive and have good climates. They also tend to be socially and politically progressive, considerate of their futures but also of their past. All of these things work together to create an environment conducive to better living.
        • The city of Roanoke's manager, Darlene Burcham, was recognized as a "Top 25 Doer, Dreamer and Driver" byGovernment Technology Magazine. The people selected "implemented innovative ideas that improved citizen services and public safety - and they did so with cost-effectiveness demanded by current budget realities".
        • Doubletree Hotels awarded the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center its top award for Number One Property in the brand in the country. The hotel also won the Care Cup award (2003), certifying the property as number one in customer feedback, and a Pride Award (2000-2004) as well as a Circle of Excellence Award (1999-2004).
        • For nine years in a row, Roanoke has been named a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
        • Partners for Livable Communities, a nonprofit leadership organization, honored Roanoke as one of America's most livable cities for striking a "careful balance" between business development and the natural environment. Cited in the award were the planned as one of America's most livable cities for striking a "careful balance" between business development and the natural environment. Cited in the award were the planned Riverside Centre for Research & Technology, the Warehouse Row technology center, the , the Warehouse Row technology center, the O. Winston Link Museum and the plans for a new art museum.
        • The restoration of the bell tower and front facade of Fire Station #1 has been selected as one of the American Public Works Association's (APWA) Projects of the Year 2004 in the historic preservation category.
        • The Hilton Hotels Connie Award was given to the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center in 2003.
        • The National Citizens Police Academy Association (NCPAA) named the Roanoke Police Department Citizen Police Academy the 2004 Agency of the Year.
        • The New Century Venture Center was named the recipient of the National Business Incubation Association's 2004 Randall M Whaley International Incubator of the Year Award.
        • Roanoke Citizen, the city's magazine, has won the Savvy Award, first place, in the newsletter/magazine category from the City-County Communications and Marketing Association (3CMA).
        • Expansion Management magazine's July 2004 Second Annual Mayor's Challenge for site selectors choosing a location ranked the Roanoke Valley as 40th in the nation overall in its six major categories of public education, college-educated work force, health care costs and availability, quality of life, logistics infrastructure and government taxes and spending.
        • The Center for Digital Government's 2004 Digital Cities Survey named Roanoke the fifth most efficient city in using technology to serve citizens.
        • The Roanoke MSA was named one of Expansion Management magazine's "America's 50 Hottest Cities" for manufacturing for the fifth time. Business climate, work force quality, operating costs, incentive programs, among others, were considered.
        • The DiRoNa Award for one of the best international restaurants in the world has been given to the Regency Roomat the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center every year from 2002 to 2005.
        • The Center for Digital Government has chosen Roanoke as the top digital city in its population category of 75,000 to 124,999 for the fourth time out of five years. The city was recognized for its citizen friendly web site and offering free downtown wireless Internet service.

      2003
        • The Roanoke Valley has earned a Four-Star rating in Expansion Management magazine's fifth annual Quality of Life Quotient for May 2003. The rating was based on a reasonable cost of living, affordable housing, low crime, excellent transportation access, good public schools, proximity to community colleges and universities, an educated work force, and low taxes.
        • The Crystal Spring Filtration Plant has won the 2003 Project of the Year Award from the American Public Works Association in the $2 to $10 million category.
        • Roanoke Citizen has won the 2003 Savvy Award (first place) in the Newsletter/Magazine category bestowed by the City-County Communications and Marketing Association, while the "Every Drop Counts" water campaign won the Silver Circle Award (second place) for Best Communications Plan.
        • Once again, for the third year in a row, the Center for Digital Government has chosen Roanoke as the top digital city in its population category of 75,000 to 124,999. Roanoke is the only city to rank first for three years in a row. Not only was the city recognized for its citizen friendly web site, but also for offering free downtown wireless Internet service and regional public access kiosks.
        • The National League of Cities and the CH2M Hill Company sponsor the James C Howland Awards for Urban Enrichment. The 2003 James C Howland Silver Winner in the 50,001 - 150,000 population category was Roanoke's "Every Drop Counts" water conservation education campaign.

      2002

      2001
        • Expansion Management magazine's January 2001 issue ranked Roanoke as one of its "50 hottest cities for business relocation and expansion" of manufacturing companies. It ranked 25th.
        • In the 5th Edition of the Retirement Places Rated Almanac, Roanoke rated as the second-best metro area in the country to retire in, based on climate, cost of living, health care, and a low crime rate.
        • The Science Museum of Western Virginia has been awarded the highest honor a museum can receive, an accreditation by the American Association of Museums.
        • Verizon's Dickens of a Christmas Festival in downtown Roanoke has been selected as one of Southeast Tourism Society's top events.
        • The Virginia Downtown Development Association presented a statewide "Award of Excellence" for outstanding achievement in downtown revitalization to Center in the Square for its renovation of the Shenandoah Hotel.
        • In November 2001, the Center for Digital Government named Roanoke the top e-government city in the US in the 75,000 to 125,000 population category. The city scored 91.7 out of a 100, receiving high marks for its Web site, online job search and application process, and its "robust" public-safety program.

      1999
        • Sales and Marketing Management magazine's April 1999 issue listed Roanoke as one of the twenty (20) hottest domestic markets in which to do business in 1999. The magazine predicted retail sales would grow 26% and effective buying income would increase 21% by 2002.
        • Roanoke ranked first of all metropolitan areas in Virginia in real per capita personal income in a study released on May 3, 1999. Gilbert R Yochum and Vinod B Agarwal, both professors of economics at Old Dominion University, used cost of living indices to produce real income figures. The Roanoke MSA ranked eleventh in the nation.
        • Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center was awarded the National Pinnacle Award for outstanding meeting facility bySuccessful Meetings magazine in 1999.
        • Center in the Square has been recognized as the top downtown economic development project in the world by theInternational Downtown Association (IDA). This award, announced October 4, 1999, honors the impact Center in the Square has had in the transformation of downtown Roanoke.
        • According to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the city of Roanoke is ranked 14th nationally in the number of telecommunications equipment and service jobs in emerging firms.

      1998
        • Sales and Marketing Management magazine's January 1998 issue listed Roanoke as one of the twenty (20) hottest domestic markets in which to do business in 1998. The area was listed at number 10 in the nation because it ranked as number six (6) in total business BPI (Buying Power Index), number 17 in sales opportunity index and number 23 in high-tech BPI. The article said, "With its low cost of doing business, Roanoke has become a popular market. In the past five years there have been 49 corporate expansions and relocations, representing a $406 million investment in the economy and almost 6,300 jobs."
        • In Money magazine's twelfth annual Best Places to Live survey, Roanoke was chosen the third best small southern city in which to live.

      1997
        • The spring 1997 issue of Southern Business & Development magazine ranked mid-size and small markets by the number of economic development announcements creating at least 100 jobs. The period covered was 1994 through 1997. In its size market, Roanoke ranked as number 10 in the nation!

      1996