It’s the final week that we’re accepting submissions for our 4th Annual Strongest Town Contest, sponsored by CivicBrand, Urban3, and Verdunity. If you haven’t applied yet, there’s still time to throw your hat in the ring! Contest entries are due by midnight Eastern time on Sunday, March 10th, 2019.
The winning town will receive a profile on the Strong Towns site for our millions of annual readers around the world, and a special visit from Strong Towns founder and president Charles Marohn.
“But We’re Not Strong Enough Yet”
Strong Towns members tend to be idealists. And because of that, it’s all too easy to look at your own city or town and see where it falls short of the kind of place you hope to build.
Strong Towns members also tend to be active in civic affairs, either as a citizen advocate, entrepreneur, elected official, local developer, or government employee. We’re in the thick of it, and so we have a lot of pent-up frustration with the good things that we see not happening or being stymied somehow.
And so it may not be surprising that the most common feedback we get when we urge people to enter the contest is things like, “Ehh. My town has a lot of problems. We’re working on it, but we have a long way to go.”
That answer is no excuse. Here’s why.
We Want to Know How Your Town’s Leaders Think About Its Future
Here’s what Chuck Marohn wrote about Muskegon, Michigan, the 2018 champion, after visiting:
Is everything perfect in Muskegon? Of course not; far from it, in fact. This is a place that is still struggling with deindustrialization, population loss, and decades of bad investments. In that sense, they are just like a lot of other cities in the Midwest. I left optimistic about their future, however, because I experienced a place where people are asking the tough questions, emphasizing Strong Towns-style action, and celebrating the right kind of victories.
Asking the tough questions. Emphasizing Strong Towns-style action. That’s what’s important.
In fact, we added a new question to the application this year—”What is the biggest challenge your town faces, and what are you doing to address it?”—because we specifically want to know what you struggle with. We don’t just want the civic cheerleading squad. Tell us about the journey you’re on to shape a financially sound, resilient future.
And do it by this Sunday night. We can’t wait to share your story with the world.
(Cover photo: Kathryn McCallum via Flickr)