By Kathleen Quilligan
While the city and county wrote the application that make Fort Wayne and Allen County a finalist in the All-America City competition, residents’ help is needed to actually win the award.
Mayor’s Area Advocate Denise Porter-Ross said that on each Friday through June 8 she will announce ways city and county residents can help win the award that is given to 10 of the competition’s 21 finalists.
The city previously has received the award in 1954, 1982 and 1998, but this is the first time the city and county have collaborated on the award. To be named an All-America city, a community must have active citizen involvement, effective and efficient government, and community vision and pride.
Porter-Ross said her first announcement asked residents to create scrapbook pages of their families, churches and community groups to show what the area is really like.
“I know scrapbooking is a big phenomenon in this community,” said Porter-Ross, who is still getting pictures from residents who attended the Blue Friday rally she conducted in February in support of the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl.
The scrapbook pages may be dropped off at any area Wal-Mart store.
Porter-Ross said she also encourages those who have been around for the previous award-winning years to journal about their memories. For example, she said babies who were born the week the award was announced in 1998 were given a certificate that named them “All-America City babies.”
“They must be in baby books someplace,” Porter-Ross said.
The push for resident involvement comes as a last step in the finalist process that measures city participation and shows support for the award, Porter-Ross said.
“People complain and bemoan some things, but we have a lot of great things going for us and a lot of community involvement,” Porter-Ross said. “People should feel good about where they live.”