Aliceville, Ashville, Luverne, and Ozark Join ACE Program
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (August 30, 2021) — Alabama Communities of Excellence (ACE) announced on Friday, August 27, that the board of directors approved Aliceville, Ashville, Luverne, and Ozark to join the program.
The application process kicked off in May with an announcement from ACE Board President and Chair Carrie Banks at the Alabama League of Municipalities (ALM) Convention and Expo. ACE welcomed mayors of Alabama communities with a qualifying population of 2,000 to 18,000 to apply for the program by a July 31 deadline.
The four cities selected for the 2021 class will start Phase I of the ACE program this fall. The ACE program consists of three phases. Phase I focuses on community assessment, while Phase II concentrates on leadership development and strategic planning. Phase III wraps up the program with comprehensive planning and implementing the strategic plan.
“Community and economic development are critical to the health and vitality of Alabama’s smaller and rural municipalities,” Banks said. “ACE is specifically designed to engage a broad range of community stakeholders to develop and implement both short and long-range plans to improve and expand the quality of life for each city and town by focusing on the unique assets, resources, values and concerns of the community.”
ACE provides community leaders with training and workshops to develop vision and mission statements, implementation strategies, and a sustainable leadership development program. Each community will be assigned a team of experts from the ACE Associates Council to guide them through the program.
ACE strives to guarantee widespread geographic coverage across the state. Forty-two cities have successfully completed the program to be designated as “Alabama Communities of Excellence,” which are Alexander City, Arab, Atmore, Bay Minette, Boaz, Brewton, Center Point, Childersburg, Demopolis, Elba, Eufaula, Evergreen, Fairhope, Fayette, Foley, Gardendale, Geneva, Graysville, Guin, Gulf Shores, Guntersville, Haleyville, Hanceville, Hartselle, Headland, Heflin, Helena, Jackson, Jacksonville, Jasper, Leeds, Livingston, Millbrook, Monroeville, Montevallo, Oneonta, Rainsville, Saraland, Spanish Fort, Tallassee, Thomasville, and Valley. Currently, Abbeville, Chelsea, Florala, and Red Bay are working through the phases of the ACE program.
ACE’s partner organizations are vital to the success of the program. The program’s 2021 partners include Alabama Department of Commerce, Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, Alabama League of Municipalities, Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association, Alabama Municipal Electric Authority, Alabama Power Company, Alabama Small Business Development Center Network, Auburn University – Government and Economic Development Institute, Byard Associates, LLC, David Mathews Center for Civic Life, Goodwyn Mills Cawood, Regions Bank, Spire, The University of Alabama Center for Economic Development, The University of West Alabama, and United States Department of Agriculture – Rural Development (USDA-RD). ACE also receives grant funding from the USDA-RD program and Alabama State Council on the Arts.
About Alabama Communities for Excellence (ACE)
Alabama Communities of Excellence was created in 2002 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to provide assistance to select communities with qualifying populations of 2,000 to 18,000. For 19 years, ACE has provided small communities across the state with the resources and knowledge necessary to focus on the importance of planning, leadership development, and broad-based community engagement to ensure long-term economic success. ACE principles include:
- Active involvement by stakeholders across a broad demographic spectrum.
- Development of local leaders and leadership capacity.
- Emphasis on developing and implementing plans to realize the municipality’s vision.