Four New York communities – including three in greater Rochester and the surrounding area -- are celebrating their first round of success in the America’s Best Communities competition, a $10-million initiative to stimulate economic revitalization in small towns and cities. Webster, Le Roy and Livingston County, plus Norwich in Central NY are moving ahead in the competition. Each will receive $50,000 to develop comprehensive strategies to accelerate the revival of their local economies and improve the quality of life in their communities.
Frontier Communications, DISH Network, CoBank and The Weather Channel — the competition’s sponsors — today announced that Webster, Le Roy, Livingston County and Norwich have advanced into the quarterfinals of this innovative competition. They are among the 50 quarterfinalist communities that now have six months to complete their revitalization plans and compete for up to an additional $3 million to bring their ideas to life.
In the months ahead, the communities will partner with a major corporation that will provide guidance and support throughout the next stage of the competition. The America’s Best Communities Adopt-a-Community Program has brought together 50 distinguished companies from across the nation to support the quarterfinalist communities. Each corporation will be paired with a community to serve as their strategic mentor, while also contributing $15,000 of the $50,000 in prize money. These corporate partners will forge relationships with local leaders and focus their efforts on successful implementation of the innovative business plans.
“It gives me great pleasure to announce Livingston County and Le Roy as two community areas that have pulled together their talent and first-class ideas and are now moving forward in the competition,” said Bob Smith, area general manager of Frontier’s Rochester West operations. “I can speak from personal experience as to the caliber of the leadership, the resilience and strength of the communities, and the overall commitment they have toward enhancing, growing, and setting the bar high.”
Julie Marshall, Livingston County director of Economic Development stated, “We are pleased to be selected in the America’s Best Communities competition. The community revitalization plan that we will develop with the financial support from America’s Best Communities will be designed to generate sustained economic momentum that will further strengthen Livingston County for many years.”
Shelley Stein, County Legislator for Le Roy, said: "The community of Le Roy and Bergen are so excited to learn that we are one of America's Best Communities! Our application was a shared effort of the Town Supervisor Steve Barbeau and Director of the Jell-O Museum and the Le Roy Historical Society Lynne Belluscio. All of us are eager to share our story of agrarian roots and our ability to create local/regional commerce steeped in strong entrepreneurial tradition in the community.
"We look forward to meeting with our strategic mentor and continuing this exciting opportunity for Le Roy to attract more attention to our incredible work ethic, ability to collaborate and strong leadership capacity. We sincerely thank Frontier, Dish Network, CoBANK and The Weather Channel for assisting rural communities reach our full potential.”
Sharing comments on Le Roy making it to the quarterfinals, Belluscio stated: “This is great news! Le Roy is extremely proud to be included in this national search for America’s Best Community. Rural communities are great places to live and raise families. This is where neighbors help neighbors, and the true American spirit is fostered. It is where American entrepreneurs can thrive with proper planning and economic development. It takes a team of dedicated people to make it happen - - and Le Roy has that team - - now we hope that this kind of economic investment and technical support will propel this community into the next generation.”
As the newly appointed Area General Manager of Frontier’s Rochester East operations, Bill Carpenter said, “I am very excited to have a town in my area of responsibility move forward in the competition. Webster has demonstrated that it has the inspiration and dedication to generate ideas that will reinvigorate the community. It’s this type of local engagement that attracted me to Frontier, and I am very proud to work with Webster as the community moves to the next round of competition.”
Speaking on behalf of Webster, Matt Chatfield, executive director of the Webster Community Coalition for Economic Development, noted: “The Webster community is grateful to receive this national recognition for the long-standing efforts of its political, civic and business leadership to make Webster a community of choice in Upstate New York. We are also excited about the prospect of working with our corporate partner to develop a unique, sustainable and achievable business growth plan that will propel our community forward for the foreseeable future.”
After launching in September, the America’s Best Communities competition successfully attracted entries from 138 applicant teams, representing 347 communities across the country. All 138 applications were reviewed by a panel of independent expert judges who selected the 50 winning communities based upon an objective set of criteria.
America’s Best Communities is a multi-stage, three-year competition that will provide $4 million in seed money and other support to assist communities as they develop new economic growth strategies. The top three communities — those with the most innovative proposals being effectively implemented — will share a total of $6 million in prize money. The winning community will be awarded $3 million, with $2 million for second place and $1 million for third.
“As the largest telecommunications company focused on rural America, we recognize the economic impact that strategic investments often have on the revitalization of small towns and rural cities,” Frontier Communications Executive Chairman Maggie Wilderotter said. “America’s Best Communities has already inspired new collaboration among local leaders across New York, and it’s just getting started. The innovative ideas the competition is investing in have the potential to become roadmaps to growth for communities across the U.S.”