Centralina Council of Governments (CCOG) works with local governments to help grow our region’s economy and jobs, control the cost of government and improve quality of life. CCOG celebrates the region’s outstanding achievements towards these goals through the Annual Region of Excellence Awards. Local governments are asked to nominate an innovative project, program, plan, or individual that has contributed to significant and positive advancements in the regional community.

2018 Region of Excellence Awards
The 2018 Centralina Council of Governments Region of Excellence Awards and 50th Anniversary Celebration was held on Friday, Nov. 30th at The Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Master of Ceremonies David Baxter, Cable Television General Manager for Cabarrus County, introduced the Keynote speaker, Anthony Bedell, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at U.S. Department of Transportation, and the awards judges Bill Deter, former Mayor for the Town of Weddington; and John Metcalf, President of Workforce Systems Associates

Julie Burch, former Assistant Manager for the City of Charlotte; Bill Deter, former Mayor for the Town of Weddington; and John Metcalf, President of Workforce Systems Associates. A separate team reviewed and selected the winner of the Clean Cities Award. A special thank you to all our Excellence Award judges!

Region of Excellence Awards Background
Centralina Council of Governments celebrates the work of member governments through the Excellence Awards. These awards honor the outstanding achievements that work collectively to achieve regional goals. Elected officials, managers and other staff from our member governments were encouraged to submit nominations that have contributed to significant and positive advancements in the community.

AWARD: Growing the Economy
The recipient of this award has implemented innovative solutions to community development/investment challenges and engages in best practice strategies that: utilize public/private sector partnerships to maximize investment opportunities; prepares existing sites and infrastructure to meet the needs of target industries; and/or implements economic development including job creation/retention initiatives, etc.

2018 WINNER Gaston Development Corp and Partners: Gaston County CLT Airport Connected Economic Positioning Strategy
The Gaston County CLT Airport Connected Economic Positioning Strategy is a public-private initiative to provide Gaston County, its cities and towns and the private sector a plan to more effectively harness the economic benefit of proximity and access to Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT Airport). Realizing that the CLT Airport presented a unique opportunity, the county’s political and business leaders came together, provided the needed funding and guided the development of a blueprint for intentional future economic growth related to the Airport. In October 2015, CLT Airport launched an economic master planning effort to produce an Airport Area Strategic Development Plan (AASDP), encompassing the 24 square miles in Mecklenburg County immediately around the airport. Gaston County business and governmental leaders were asked to and became engaged in that effort as stakeholders. In September 2017, stakeholders worked with consultants to launch the Strategy project, which featured 20-year growth projections by land use, identification of key existing and future mobility corridors, economic opportunity areas, catalytic projects and a compelling rationale for increasing transportation capacity between Gaston County and Charlotte, including transit. The Steering Committee unanimously adopted the Strategy and supporting Report in September 2018 and initiated a process for its implementation.

AWARD: Controlling the Cost of Government
The recipient of this award has been creative in implementing a new or innovative program or initiative that is effective and delivers the most value with public funds. Such program exemplifies efficiency through: utilizing economies of scale; partnering with other local governments to maximize the impact of public funds; and/or encouraging best practices to maintain or expand services.

2018 WINNER Town of Huntersville: Recreation Center Project
The new Huntersville Recreation Center opened in January 2018. This 24,000 square foot recreation center includes two high school sized basketball courts, eight side basketball goals, four volleyball courts, four pickleball courts, café/lounge area, multipurpose room, office space and outdoor walking trail. This facility was designed for a future expansion due to anticipated future growth. This project was made possible by both public and private partnerships. The land that the Recreation Center is located on is leased by the Town of Huntersville from Mecklenburg County. One of the most important partnerships for this project includes a Joint Use Agreement with Central Piedmont Community College Merancas Campus. The Town also developed partnerships with NovantHealth and Pepsi.

These partnerships have saved the taxpayers more than $2.2 million and the Town’s Joint Use Agreement/Partnership has allowed the Town to save over $20 million in Park and Recreation capital costs in addition to ongoing operating costs. The project also demonstrates the success of the Huntersville Parks and Recreation Department’s model of the 4 P’s. The first P is for the PEOPLE – everything starts with the needs of the people. The second P is for the PROGRAMS that are provided to serve the people. The third P is for PLACES – the facilities that are needed to provide the programs for the people. The last P is for PARTNERSHIPS that are formed to provide the places and programs for the people. This is the Town’s 16th Joint Use Agreement/Partnership. It has been recognized as one of the most complex agreements but also one of the most successful.

AWARD: Improving the Quality of Life
The recipient of this award best leverages resources to improve the quality of life for citizens. The award recipient has implemented innovative program offerings such as those that: enhance social equity; encourage community participation through public and private sector leadership; develop solutions that build on the community’s strengths and improve upon its weaknesses; or use cooperative volunteerism to maintain or expand services.

2018 WINNER City of Mount Holly: River Front Greenway Expansion Project
The City of Mount Holly greenway system has a long and interesting past, present and future. The history of the greenway project can be traced back to 2003 when a group of citizens and civic officials came together for a series of charettes, formally known as the 2003 Vision Process. It was during this process that residents and stakeholders made known their desire for greenways and green connections. In 2007, the City adopted the Catawba River Corridor Master Plan the City’s greenway master plan that set the route for future greenways. By 2015, the City held a groundbreaking ceremony for Phase I of the Mount Holly River Front Greenway. The City opened a new stretch of the greenway in March 2018. The 1.59-mile stretch is near Mountain Island Dam and runs alongside the Catawba River through lush forest. It is estimated that it took 900-man hours to create the wide, graveled trail and construct five pedestrian wooden bridges. Greenway amenities include benches, trail markers, trash cans and picnic tables. Signage and mile markers are present throughout the trail and have numbers that can be relayed to Police and Fire Dispatch in case of emergency. In addition to the City, many organizations helped make the greenway a reality. From the very first greenway meetings, the themes of encouraging public participation through public and private sector leadership and enhancing social equity have been at the forefront of this endeavor.

AWARD: Aging in Action
The recipient of this award serves as a leader in impacting communities, so adults can age with choice, dignity and independence. The awardee has implemented a program that demonstrates a commitment and contribution to older and/or disabled adult issues, engagement, participation and/or volunteerism of older adults and advocacy for and behalf of older and disabled adults and their families.

2018 WINNER Union County Council on Aging: Group Respite Home
The Council on Aging in Union County has expanded its services to offer a respite program called The Next Door Group Respite program. The program serves as another resource for caregivers. Group respite is a new model of care for the region and this program is the only one of its kind in the area. The goal of the program is to improve everyday life for caregivers and their loved ones.

Family caregivers need respite from caregiving to attend to their own needs. By having respite time, the caregiver is more likely to continue to provide care in the home, allowing older adults to age in place. The group respite experience provides social and mental stimulation leading to enhanced well-being for participants. Isolation is a common side effect of dementia and adds burden for caregivers. The program offers a homelike environment where the caregiver feels comfortable bringing their loved one and engaging activities encourage participation and interaction.

There is especially a need for respite for individuals caring for someone with memory loss. Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, affects 1 in 7 North Carolinians over age 65. The 60 and older population of Union County increased from 26,159 in 2008 to 58,305 in 2013. By 2033, this population is expected to reach nearly 137,000. A large portion of this population will eventually be impacted by some form of memory loss. The group respite program strives to proactively address this need by providing additional caregiver options for the increased number of older adults with memory loss and their caregivers.

AWARD: Clean Cities
The recipient of this Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition award is a stakeholder organization that best demonstrates leadership and excellence in clean transportation and alternative fuel activities. The awardee has recognized the environmental, economic and national security benefits of reducing consumption of fossil fuels and has implemented programs and initiatives to lower their use of traditional transportation fuels.

2018 WINNER Gaston County: Propane Vehicle Conversion Project
Gaston County is no stranger to doing more with less when it comes to advanced vehicle and clean energy technologies. Gaston County Public Works began utilizing alternative fuel propane in 2011. Initially the County converted 16 vehicles to the liquid propane gas (LPG) bi-fuel system, funded through the Clean Fuels Alternative Technology Grant and later converted an additional 24 vehicles to operate on the LPG bi-fuel system. In converting county vehicles to this system, Gaston County joined other NC counties in the movement toward clean transportation and has been successful at reducing their petroleum usage and environmental impact. In addition to reducing emissions and improving air quality, one of the leading motivators for the selection of this clean transportation technology is the ability to control costs through vehicle operations that includes a traditionally lower price per gallon than gasoline. Not only will Gaston County save thousands of dollars in reduced fueling costs, but it will also help reduce harmful vehicle emissions in Gaston County and beyond. Gaston County has been awarded a 2018 CFAT grant for the conversion of ten additional county-owned vehicles to the LPG bi-fuel system.

AWARD: James D. Prosser Excellence in Government Leadership
The recipient of this award exemplifies and promotes excellence in government, outstanding leadership and high ethical standards. The award recognizes the cumulative achievements of a local government professional who has served as a role model for others and has consistently exhibited high professional and personal standards throughout his or her public career.

2018 WINNER W. Lane Bailey: City of Salisbury City Manager
W. Lane Bailey has been the City of Salisbury City Manager since March 2015. Employees recognize him as an outstanding leader because of his accessibility, genuine care for others and eagerness to tackle the most challenging of issues. Mr. Bailey has created a re-energized shift in the organization’s culture through implementation of the “Salisbury Way,” an internal service philosophy. He encouraged staff to create the “Salisbury Way” or “Sway” to create a change in the culture of the organization. Through the implementation of “Sway” employees have developed and defined the organization’s core values. With “Sway” the employee culture has experienced a positive shift and employees recognize customer service as not only what they do but who they are.

Mr. Bailey has also developed ways to increase citizen engagement through transparency and communication. He seeks innovative solutions to critical issues in the City, successfully leading the transition of the municipally owned broadband utility to a public/private partnership. It is anticipated that this new relationship will benefit the City financially and provide continued broadband services that are unmatched in speed and reliability. Mr. Bailey has provided outstanding leadership through community challenges and created unique opportunities that move both the community and the organization forward.

 

Past Region of Excellence Award Recipients

2017 Award Recipients

Controlling the Cost of Government

Town of Wadesboro – Renovated Wadesboro Police Station

Growing the Economy

Town of Mooresville – Workforce and Education Alignment Initiative

Improving Quality of Life

City of Bessemer City – Centennial Park Revitalization Project

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and Woodstone Apartments – Woodstone After School and Mentoring Program

Clean Cities

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

 

2016 Award Recipients

Controlling the Cost of Government

Iredell County – Online Septic Record Search Engine

Growing the Economy

Gaston County – Social Services Customer Self-Help Resource Center

Improving Quality of Life

Gaston County – Teen Wellness Center

City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County – Cross Charlotte Trail

City of Salisbury – Salisbury Sculpture Show

Clean Cities

Town of Matthews

 

2015 Award Recipients

Controlling the Cost of Government

Gaston County – Radio Communication Tower Construction, Co-location and Interoperability Project

Growing the Economy

City of Kings Mountain – Downtown Kings Mountain Small Business Success Project

Town of Huntersville – Strategic Economic Development Plan

Improving Quality of Life

Town of Indian Trail – Resident Recreational Pass Program

Clean Cities

City of Concord

 

2014 Award Recipients

Controlling the Cost of Government

Cabarrus County – Collaborative Technology Services Initiative with Local Education Agencies

Growing the Economy

Town of Davidson – “PiES” Project (Project for Innovation, Energy & Sustainability)

Improving Quality of Life

Town of Matthews – Sewer Pipe Art Initiative

Town of Huntersville – “S.O.U.L.S.” Program (Seniors: Older, United & Living Stronger)

 

2013 Award Recipients

Controlling the Cost of Government

Town of Cramerton – Two Rivers Utilities Partnership

Growing the Economy

City of Gastonia – Gastonia Technology Park Initiative

Improving Quality of Life

City of Statesville – Downtown Streetscape Project

Clean Cities

Benfield Sanitation Services

 

2012 Award Recipients

Controlling the Cost of Government

Town of Marshville – Cost Savers Initiative

Growing the Economy

City of Belmont – Small Business Support, Retention and Recruitment Program

City of Charlotte – CharlotteBusinessResources.com Initiative

Improving Quality of Life

Town of Troutman – ESC Park Project

Clean Cities

Gaston County Schools

 

2011 Award Recipients

Excellence in Local Government Efficiency and Effectiveness

Iredell County – Project Access Initiative

Excellence in Service to Citizens

Town of Matthews – Library Volunteers Program

Excellence in Community Investment and Development

City of Gastonia – Gaston Mall Connector Road Project

Clean Cities

God Bless the USA, Inc.

 

2010 Award Recipients

Excellence in Local Government Efficiency and Effectiveness

Village of Wesley Chapel, Village of Marvin, Town of Waxhaw, Town of Weddington – Western Union County Local Area Regional Transportation Plan

Excellence in Service to Citizens

City of Belmont – “WOW Wednesday” Program

Excellence in Planning and Sustainability 

City of Bessemer City – Community Planning Project

Clean Cities

City of Monroe

 

2009 Award Recipients

Excellence in Local Government Efficiency and Effectiveness

City of Charlotte – Utility Right of Way Management Program

Excellence in Community Investment and Development

City of Mount Holly – Strategic Vision Plan and implementation of the Tuckaseege Park Expansion

Excellence in Planning and Sustainability 

Cabarrus County – Central Area Land Use Planning Project

Iredell County – Comprehensive Growth Management Report

Clean Cities

Piedmont Natural Gas

Area Agency on Aging Region F Distinguished Legislator of the Year

Representative Linda P. Johnson, N.C. House District 83

 

2008 Award Recipients

Excellence in Local Government Efficiency and Effectiveness

City of Gastonia – Partnering with local governments to form an integrated SWAT Team

Excellence in Service to Citizens

Gaston County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council – Gang Prevention Initiative

Excellence in Planning and Community Investment

City of Charlotte – Midtown Connectivity Project

Excellence in Environmental Planning and Conservation

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities – Integration of environmental considerations into planning and decision making

Clean Cities

UNC Charlotte

 

2007 Award Recipients

Excellence in Local Government Efficiency and Effectiveness

Stanly County – “One Stop Shop” Central Permitting Office

Excellence in Planning and Community Investment

Gaston County – Queens Road/Queens Court Community Improvement Project

Excellence in Environmental Planning and Conservation

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services Department – Hidden Valley Ecological Garden Project

Excellence in Economic Development

Town of Matthews – Matthews Station Street Project

City of Kannapolis – North Carolina Research Campus Project

Excellence in Aging and Elderly Services

Town of Stanley – Senior Citizen Contact Program

Clean Cities

City of Concord

 

2006 Award Recipients

Excellence in Local Government Efficiency and Effectiveness

Union County – Union County Public Library Hispanic Services Program

Excellence in Planning and Community Investment

Cabarrus County – Designing Cabarrus

Excellence in Environmental Planning and Conservation

Mecklenburg County – Liz Hair Nature Walk on the Little Sugar Creek Greenway

Excellence in Economic Development

Town of Huntersville (and its partners–Cornelius, Davidson, and Lake Norman Regional Economic Development Corporation) – North Mecklenburg Industrial Park