Announcing the 2024 All-America City Hall of Fame Inductee

The National Civic League is excited to announce that Wheat Ridge, Colorado is the 2024 All-America City Hall of Fame Inductee. An All-America City in 2021, Wheat Ridge is being recognized for embracing resident engagement during a period of great transformation through the “Let’s Talk Resident Engagement Program.” Wheat Ridge will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame at this year’s All-America City Award Event in Denver, CO, June 7-9. 

Navigating Wheat Ridge’s Transformation: Building Community through Action

In response to economic decline in the early 2000s, Wheat Ridge embarked on its inaugural Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy (NRS), laying the groundwork for a thriving community with robust housing and bustling commercial centers.

However, by 2018, as Wheat Ridge witnessed noticeable shifts, a palpable tension arose between the city’s historic roots as a quirky small town and the need to embrace progress. This prompted Wheat Ridge’s City Council to initiate an NRS update to define its identity and ensure a shared vision.

At the core of the NRS update was the “Let’s Talk Resident Engagement Program,” which sought to:

  • Develop a comprehensive understanding of neighborhood-level issues and opportunities.
  • Foster trust between city staff and residents through attentive listening and responsiveness.
  • Empower neighborhoods to collaborate effectively with the city for positive outcomes.
  • Ensure focused attention and responsive actions for all neighborhoods.
  • Foster diverse and robust feedback from residents during engagement initiatives.

Structured around ten neighborhoods, the Let’s Talk program conducted blitzes of engagement activities over 4–5 months within a three-year cycle. These engagements included two rounds: Round 1 for residents to express concerns and Round 2 for validation and refinement of proposed actions. Insights from these engagements informed budget allocations and work plans, ensuring a proactive approach to community needs.

The innovative Let’s Talk program swiftly achieved tangible outcomes, transcending traditional planning paradigms. Notably, it completed eight action items from its work plan, with eleven more in progress. Over three years, it solicited feedback from over 1,800 residents, leveraging digital platforms for inclusivity and accessibility. These accomplishments encompassed budget increases for popular programs, regulatory adjustments, and infrastructure enhancements. Moreover, Let’s Talk feedback bolstered grant applications and informed a ballot question to extend the .5 cent sales tax to fund critical infrastructure projects.

The public overwhelmingly supported that decision with over 70% of voters in favor. This support underscores not only the trust and confidence residents have in their city but also the tangible results that emerge when community voices are heard and valued. From improved sidewalk connectivity to the expansion of bike lanes, this victory stands as a testament to the power of collective action and problem-solving.

Wheat Ridge is the seventh Hall of Fame Award Inductee. The National Civic League created the All-America City – Hall of Fame Award in 2019 to celebrate the ongoing work of past All-America Cities. The award recognizes communities that have implemented a community-driven initiative that resulted in significant local impact due to community engagement.

Submissions are evaluated based on the National Civic League’s civic infrastructure measurement tool, the Civic Index. Applicants must show that the community initiative featured a Shared Vision, Civic Engagement, Inclusiveness and Equity, Collaboration, Innovation, and Impact.

For more information about the award and past winners, visit:

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