America's Best Cities picks Huntington, lauds Greencastle
Greencastle may not have been named one of the top three winners Wednesday night in the long-running America's Best Communities competition but that doesn't mean the city came away empty handed.
Greencastle was a successful as a quarterfinalist in the competition sponsored by Frontier Communications, DISH Network, The Weather Channel and CoBank and received $50,000 for community revitalization back in April 2015.
That means that in competition with more than 350 cities and towns, Greencastle emerged as one of the top 50 locations.
"During the semifinal and final rounds, the panel of judges unfortunately had to make tough decisions," a publicist for the competition told the Banner Graphic.
"The competition sponsors really appreciate everything Greencastle did as part of the campaign," she praised, "and hope that Greencastle's participation spurred positive change in your community, regardless of the end result."
That end result saw the city of Huntington capturing first place Wednesday night in the America's Best Communities competition, taking home the $3 million grand prize in the process.
Lake Havasu City, Ariz., and Statesboro, Ga., claimed second and third place, respectively, winning $2 million and $1 million each.
Huntington Mayor Steve Williams released the following statement after the announcement: "We are honored and excited to be named America's Best Community. Our citizens should stand proud. We have been aggressive with our aspirations. Our people believe in the direction we are taking with our community's revitalization plan and, because of that, they have embraced our commitment to transform Huntington and the broader Appalachian region for the next 50 years."
Huntington prevailed over seven other contest finalists, including Madison, Ind. The other six finalists were: Chisago Lakes Area, Minn.; Darrington/Arlington, Wash.; Lake Havasu City, Ariz.; Statesboro, Ga.; Tualatin, Ore., and Valley County, Ida.
The eight finalists were awarded another $100,000 to continue implementation of their plans.
In making the quarterfinals, Greencastle was also lauded by Frontier Communications Regional General Manager Marc Evans.
"Greencastle has always been a vibrant, strong community," Evans said, calling it a thrill for the city "to earn this recognition on a national stage."
"Strong communities don't just happen," he added, stressing that they are most often the result of hardworking people with a dedicated plan of action.
Greencastle was joined by 10 other Hoosier cities in making the quarterfinal cut -- Angola, Jasper, Lafayette, LaPorte, Madison, Richmond, Terre Haute, Valparaiso, Wabash and Westfield.