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National Civic League Names Top Ten All-America Cities

June 12, 1994 GMT

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) _ Taos, N.M., is terrific, the National Civic League said Saturday in announcing its annual top ten All-America Cities, and Porterville, Calif., Powell, Wyo., and Plano, Texas, aren’t too shabby either.

The other winners were: Columbus, Ind.; Alexandria, La.; Kansas City, Mo.; Mount Airy, N.C.; Philadelphia and Yakima, Wash. The ten winners are named as a group and are not ranked.

The 45-year-old competition, sponsored by the Allstate Foundation, judges cities based on citizen participation, collaborative approaches to problem- solving, diversity and education, among other criteria.


Thirty finalists were culled from 400 applicants.

″These ten communities have bucked the trends of defeatism and negativity that paralyze so many cities and towns today,″ said NCL Chairman John Gardner.

Mount Airy, a city of about 7,500, is famous as the hometown of Andy Griffith and generally held to be the model for his TV show setting of Mayberry.

But City Manager Ron Niland said Friday that Mayberry has problems, too. Two years ago, there was a drug bust in a housing project that ″was sort of a wake-up call,″ he said.

Volunteers responded with a program called the Garden of Hope, offering arts and recreation activities for poor youths and ″we haven’t had a major problem in the housing authority since,″ he said.

The other finalists were Monrovia, Calif.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Lakeland, Fla.; Savannah, Ga.; Streator, Ill.; Cheney, Kan.; Fitchburg, Mass.; Crystal Falls, Mich.; Kalamazoo, Mich.; Lincoln, Neb.; Township of South Orange, N.J.; Greater Buffalo, N.Y.; Piqua, Ohio; Erie Area, Penn.; Hartsville, S.C.; Spartanburg, S.C.; Huron, S.D.; San Marcos, Texas; Temple, Texas; and Racine, Wis.