Tampa vies for designation of All America City

06/18/09 Seán Kinane
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In 1990 Tampa was chosen as an All-America City. It has a shot to earn the same award tomorrow night as part of the 60th Annual All-America City Awards that Tampa is hosting.

Beginning Thursday morning the twenty-nine finalist communities made twenty minute presentations to a jury. Tampa is the only finalist from Florida and a marching band accompanied several dozen residents into a hotel ballroom for the city to make its case. Mayor Pam Iorio says she’s “proud of the effort today and the heart that went into this.”

Tampa is the third largest of the 29 finalist cities, after Phoenix, Arizona and Wichita, Kansas. The smallest is Benson, North Carolina, with a population of under 4,000. The All-America City award is put on by the National Civic League. Michael McGrath is their senior editor. “Well this is a unique award … for the whole community.”

Of the 29 finalists, ten cities will win the award. Will the host city of Tampa have a home-court advantage? McGrath says "no."

Another potential advantage for Tampa is that the city’s former Mayor, Sandy Freedman, is chair of the National Civic League Board of Directors. But current Mayor Pam Iorio does not think her city will have an unfair advantage.

During the presentation to the jury that will decide who wins, city residents sang a song about the improvements to the 40th Street corridor. Iorio gave credit to all of the participants for volunteering to make the case for their community.

Shannon Edge is director of neighborhood and community relations for the City of Tampa, and organized Tampa’s effort. Last year she attended the All-America City competition.

Ten of the finalist cities will be selected as All-America City winners in a ceremony Friday night at 7:00 pm at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel.

2009 Annual All-America City Awards

National Civic League

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