The St. Louis region was named an "All-America City" on Friday, marking the first time the city has earned the annual honor since 1956.
More than 100 communities submitted applications this year seeking the award, which is given by the Denver-based National Civic League. The St. Louis region was named one of 16 finalists and was one of ten places to earn the award. The St. Louis region was the only metropolitan region, rather than just the city, to receive the award, according to the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association, which heralded the award as proof of progress made in recent years.
"It's important for a community to step back and smell the roses and acknowledge there are some good things happening in their community," said Dick Fleming, the group's president.
The award is a recognition of civic progress and improvement, and past cities named as winners have seen a boost in the recruitment of companies to the area and in jobs, he said.
The St. Louis region was recognized for three projects: Downtown Now!, a partnership formed to revitalize downtown St. Louis that has help garner $4.25 billion in investments in the last seven years; the River Ring, a 600-mile web of 45 biking trails and greenways planned to connect the region, of which 75 miles are completed; and the Boomerang Press, which provides employment and job training for teen students to produce commissioned art through paid positions, the association said.
Fleming said the other cities to earn the recognition were Akron, Ohio; New Haven, Conn.; Aurora, Col.; Gladstone, Mo.; Goodyear, Ariz.; Cerritos, Calif.; Kissimmee, Fla; Lenoir, N.C., and Reidsville, N.C.