Where are they now? An AAC Update

Oftentimes communities will participate in the All-America City Award process with initiatives that are in the planning or beginning phases. National Civic League staff and the jury will hear about grand plans and impressive engagement processes for projects that ultimately aim to solve wicked problems such as homelessness, health equity, public safety and more. While it’d be nice to believe that all of these projects meet or exceed their initial targets, it is an unfortunate reality that some of these ambitious plans die on the vine due to a lack of funding, a change in leadership or other unforeseen challenges.

In other instances, the All-America City process serves as a catalyst, motivating communities and giving renewed energy to reach the finish line. We’re happy to provide an update on a few past All-America Cities who have realized their lofty goals.

Mather Veterans Village- Rancho Cordova, CA

In 2019 the City of Rancho Cordova, California featured the Mather Veterans Village (MVV) in its successful bid to be named an All-America City. Then in the beginning phases, the project—a collaboration between Mercy Housing California, Nation’s Finest, the City of Rancho Cordova and the County of Sacramento—aimed to create a village dedicated to the care and housing of the alarming number of homeless and disabled veterans residing in the county.

The success of phase one of  this project was part of the reason that Rancho Cordova was designated as a 2019 All-America City, but the community continued the momentum, ultimately completing the remaining phases of Mather Veterans Village in October of 2021.

Phases II and III Now Complete!

On October 12th, the collaborative partners and the community  celebrated the completion of all three phases of Mather Veterans Village, the first permanent supportive housing development for homeless and disabled veterans in the Sacramento region.

MVV provides 100 permanent supportive homes and 47 units of transitional housing, as well as amenities, such as vehicle and bicycle parking, outdoor recreation facilities with a basketball court, a community garden and dog run. Wrap-around services provided to residents include case management, counseling, resource navigation support and organized social opportunities.

“Here, I feel like I’ve got a chance,” said William “Cowboy” Huneke Sr., a Mather Veterans Village resident.

Read more about Mather Veterans Village.

Miracle Park- Rock Hill, SC

It was at the 2019 All-America City Awards where we first heard about the Rock Hill community’s vision of  creating a physical space dedicated to special populations. The city was approached by residents and representatives from Max Abilities—formerly York County Board of Disabilities and Special Needs – about a miracle field, which is a baseball field designed for people with special needs.

Through the course of engagement efforts with families and service providers, the original plan for a miracle field expanded into a full miracle park for those with special needs. When fully built out, the 15-acre park was to include two miracle baseball fields, two multi-purpose fields, a playground, walking trails, shelters, golf area, fishing pond, and a café/retail component to provide employment opportunities for these special needs individuals.

Miracle Park was part of the reason for Rock Hill’s designation as an All-America City, specifically their ability to gather broad buy-in from community partners, and to secure funding and a location for the park.

Grand Opening!

On Saturday, September 18th, Rock Hill’s ambitious dream became a reality with the grand opening of Miracle Park. Phase one of the park is now open and includes an inclusive playground, sensory wall and the Miracle Field.

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