For more information, contact:
Pat Hall, Leeds ACE Coordinator
Leeds has been designated as an “Alabama Community of Excellence” after successfully completing the Alabama Communities of Excellence (ACE) program, a comprehensive three-phase approach to economic and community development for cities with populations between 2,000 and 18,000.
The city of Leeds was recognized during the Monday, May 20th General Session of the Alabama League of Municipalities Annual convention held in Montgomery. Dr. Ken Tucker, ACE President and President of The University of West Alabama and Ken Smith, ACE Partner and Executive Director of the Alabama League of Municipalities, presented a plaque to city officials.
“Communities with eligible populations must complete and submit an application in order to be considered for the ACE program,” said Tucker, president of ACE. “The two main criteria used in selecting ACE participants are 1) the level of local commitment to the ACE program, and 2) the community’s capacity to support the ACE program.”
“We are so proud of Leeds for successfully completing all three phases of the ACE program,” said Tucker. “Their dedication to community development should be commended.
During the graduation ceremony, Tucker explained ACE’s three-phase approach.
“Phase I is known as the assessment phase. During this time, a comprehensive report card detailing community assets and weaknesses is prepared and presented to the community along with recommended strategies and actions,” Tucker said.
“During Phase II, the Leadership Development and Strategic Planning component, each community must establish a leadership development program, prepare an up-to-date strategic plan, and identify a local ACE coordinator,” said Tucker.
According to Tucker, “Phase III is the Implementation and Comprehensive Planning segment. Issues addressed during Phase III include comprehensive planning, commercial business development, education enhancement, infrastructure, health and human services, retiree attraction, tourism, economic development, and quality of life.”
To maintain the Alabama Community of Excellence designation, a community must be recertified every three years. Leeds will be eligible for recertification in 2016.
Three ACE Communities were recertified during the 2013 General Session, as well. Gulf Shores, Jacksonville and Monroeville all completed the process of recertification, demonstrating their continued commitment to keeping their towns Alabama Communities of Excellence.
“Throughout each of these phases, ACE Partners work with each community to successfully achieve their goals,” Tucker stated. “The ACE program would not be possible without the funding, hard work and participation of the ACE Partner organizations.”
ACE Partner organizations include: Alabama Association of Regional Councils, Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA), Alabama Department of Commerce (ADC), Alabama Historical Commission, Alabama League of Municipalities, Alabama Municipal Electric Authority, Alabama Power Company, Alabama Department of Public Health, Auburn University Economic & Community Development Institute, Economic Development Association of Alabama (EDAA), Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood, Regions Financial Corporation, the University of Alabama Center for Economic Development and the University of West Alabama.
Twenty-five communities have previously been certified as Alabama Communities of Excellence: Arab, Atmore, Brewton, Childersburg, Demopolis, Eufaula, Evergreen, Fayette, Foley, Graysville, Guin, Gulf Shores, Guntersville, Haleyville, Hartselle, Headland, Heflin, Jackson, Jacksonville, Livingston, Millbrook, Monroeville, Montevallo, Thomasville, and Valley. The addition of Leeds brings the total to 26 Alabama communities that have been designated as Alabama Communities of Excellence
The all new Class of 2013 was also announced: Alexander City, Elba, Fairhope, Helena, Rainsville, and Saraland all begin the process of becoming ACE Communities this summer.
About ACE: Created in 2002 as a 501 (c)3 non-profit corporation organized for the purpose of utilizing the collective expertise of its partner organizations, ACE provides participants with a “one stop shopping” type of experience—community development programs and tools needed to insure long term success found through one organization.