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Delray earns 2nd All America title

Delray earns 2nd All America title

By Patty Pensa
and Ariel Hart In Delray beach In Atlanta

June 24, 2001

Former Delray Beach Mayor Jay Alperin's stone-faced expression burst into a bubble of enthusiasm Saturday night when the National Civic League handed the city its second All America City title in eight years.

South Miami joined Delray Beach to round out the Top 10 winners of an award coveted for its immense public relations power. Deerfield Beach did not win.

"I don't know how to describe," said Alperin, losing his voice as he stepped off stage with the delegation of about 100. "I'm so proud of our community. They worked so hard to win this award. ... There were some of us who almost didn't think it could be done twice. This surpasses it."

In its 52nd year, the All America City Award competition recognizes communities that work together to overcome challenges and achieve results.

The 30 finalists spent the past two days presenting projects featured in their applications and showcasing their cities at a civic action fair.

The buzz around winning has just begun, as the award gives winners more than just bragging rights. It offers them a larger-than-life banner to wave at developers, potential businesses and grant applications.

The economic rewards are hard to measure, but experts say the victory pushes forward the city's snowball of revival, redevelopment and programming efforts.

Delray Beach officials can attest to that. The city won in 1993 and was a finalist in 1997.

The city's delegation moved judges -- some to tears Friday morning -- with its presentation, themed a "Patchwork of Pride." Delegates showcased a 15-by-20-foot quilt with photos from the three programs in the city's application.

The Youth Enrichment Vocational Program offers automotive training for at-risk teens. The Community Neighbors Helping project distributes bread and organizes seminars for senior citizens in the city's poor southwest section. Village Academy is a 1-year-old school for at-risk students from low-income neighborhoods.

"It's community-generated," Alperin said. "It gives them recognition for being creative, innovative and loving. It gives us incentive to outdo whatever has been done in the past."



Patty Pensa can be reached at ppensa@sun-sentinel.com or 561-243-6609.

Copyright © 2001, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Copyright © 2001, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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