SACRAMENTO — The League of California Cities has selected the city of Riverside as a 2012 Helen Putnam Award winner. The 2012 award winners were honored during the Opening General Session of the League’s Annual Conference & Expo at the San Diego Convention Center held Sept. 5 – 7.
Riverside won an award in the category of League Partners Award for Excellence in City-Business Relations for its city of Riverside/SmartRiverside. Riverside’s high technology businesses, city leaders, community organizations, universities, government agencies, high tech suppliers, and venture capitalists have joined together as SmartRiverside to help create one of the country’s leading digital cities, economic development hot spots, regions for job growth, and attractive places to live, work and enjoy. SmartRiverside has become the city’s platform for technology innovation and economic development.
Through SmartRiverside the city provides free internet service citywide, bridging the digital divide by providing all low income families with free PCs and free technology training, and attracting/retaining graduates and high tech businesses in record numbers. SmartRiverside has already provided 5,500 free PCs and plans on giving away 11,000 by 2015. Members are collaborating on global business opportunities, incubating start-ups, commercializing ideas and inventions and providing mentoring and funding to new businesses.
The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF), a New York think tank that evaluates hundreds of communities worldwide each year, has recognized Riverside for the last two years in a row as one of the top seven most intelligent communities in the world. The ICF sites innovation, a growing knowledge workforce and pervasive broadband connectivity as key reasons and they have begun discussions with SmartRiverside to make their Digital Inclusion Center a worldwide center of excellence.
Established in 1982, the Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program recognizes outstanding cities that deliver the highest quality and level of service in the most effective manner possible. Particular attention and credit is given to applications specifically advancing the League’s strategic priorities (www.cacities.org/priorities), which are determined each year by the board of directors.
The award is given annually in 11 categories: CCS Partnership Intergovernmental Collaboration Award; Community Services and Economic Development; Enhancing Public Trust, Ethics, and Community Involvement; Health and Wellness Programs; Housing Programs and Innovations; Internal Administration; Planning and Environmental Quality; Public Safety; Public Works, Infrastructure and Transportation; the Ruth Vreeland Award for Engaging Youth in City Government; and the League Partners Award for Excellence in City-Business Relations. Of the 99 nominations submitted in 2012, 12 cities were honored with awards.
Established in 1898, the League of California Cities is a nonprofit statewide association that advocates for cities with the state and federal governments and provides education and training services to elected and appointed city officials.