From the city of LaVergne:
The City of La Vergne has received five Local Government Awards. The awards were given on September 26, 2006 at the Greater Nashville Regional Council (GNRC) annual meeting in Clarksville.
La Vergne received awards in the category of Excellence in Parks and Recreation for both the new skate park and the renovation of the in-line hockey rink. The La Vergne Skate Park opened this past spring (2006) to the delight of many of La Vergne’s youth. With skate parks being hugely popular among young people these days, the public had been asking for one for quite some time. Finally, the city was able to accommodate those desires and created the park, which measures 80’ x 80’. It includes two modular platforms which merge into ramps, a center pyramid with ramps and street skate units and a picnic table which gives the young people plenty of space to ride and show off their talents.
The Park has been continually busy this summer with both male and female riders utilizing the space to perfect their craft. There’s not a day that goes by (except in extreme inclement weather) when one can’t drive by and see a pack of youngsters having fun at one of La Vergne’s top attractions.
After six years since the initial completion of the La Vergne in-line hockey rink, it was time for the popular facility to have a facelift. The procedure began in September 2005 with the dasher boards and player boxes at the rink being replaced, the surface was repaired, painted and sealed in the Spring of 2006.
Since the completion of the renovation, the rink has been busy with young people getting ready for the second of two seasons this year. The league, which is run by Youth, Incorporated, has a spring and fall season. The fall season begins September 9th. The re-grand opening for the facility was held Sept. 21st at 9:00 AM.
This renovation was a coordinated effort between the City of La Vergne and Youth Incorporated.
The La Vergne Seniors also received an award for its Excellence in Aging Programs. The La Vergne Senior Center was a host site in the You Can! Celebration this past September. You Can! – Steps to Healthier Aging is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Steps to a Healthier US initiative, which encourages Americans of every age to make healthier choices. The You Can! campaign is designed to increase the number of older adults who are active and healthy by using a partnership approach to mobilize communities. Together, they will create public awareness and make programs available to help older Americans improve their nutrition and increase their physical activity.
You Can! partners recruit older Americans who are ready to make lifestyle changes to improve their health and participate in local nutrition and physical activity programs. The La Vergne Senior Center was one of sixty-one partners across the United States that hosted a You Can! Celebration.
The celebration events raised awareness about the importance of making better food choices and being more physically active, and also showed that leading a healthier lifestyle could be fun.
Activities conducted during the La Vergne You Can! Celebration included: a Walk Across Tennessee Kick Off Event, Recipe Revamp and Taste Tests with a dietician from StoneCrest Medical Center, Creating a Healthy Recipe Cookbook, Fun Food Contests, Bowling, a Foot and Ankle Seminar by a local podiatrist, Exercise Class, Garden Planning by a landscape and turf specialist, a Heart Healthy lunch, spotlight on a member of the senior center who leads a healthy life and also encourages others to do the same, and an intergenerational dance to end the week.
The week was also highlighted by the grand opening of a walking trail located on the property of the senior center. This walking trail has enabled many members of the Senior Center to start their day off on the right foot by exercising prior to participating in activities at the Center. Not only were the activities a great success, but the La Vergne Senior Center was selected to receive pedometers by the Administration on Aging.
La Vergne also received the award for Excellence in Water and Wastewater for the city’s stormwater program. The City of La Vergne implemented a new Storm Water Utility Fee, effective Sept., 2005. The fee – which is being levied monthly on the community – will be used to fund the federally mandated stormwater Program. The fee will be $3.50/month for residences and a multiple of that amount for commercial businesses and industry.
The city was designated under the Federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II rule as a regulated small municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4). In Tennessee, approximately 85 cities and counties, including the City of La Vergne, have been required to obtain coverage under a stormwater discharge permit and to implement a set of programs to manage the quality of stormwater runoff. In order to adequately fund this program and other stormwater requirements, the city has implemented a stormwater utility program.
The city’s Storm Water Utility Fee is calculated based on the amount of impervious area that each parcel contains within the City limits. “Impervious area” means areas that will not allow stormwater to seep into the ground. Examples include rooftops, asphalt, and concrete pavements. The utility comprises a residential user class and a non-residential user class. Residential users (single family homes, duplexes, apartments, condominiums, etc.) are charged one equivalent residential unit (ERU) per dwelling unit per month at a rate of $3.50 per ERU.
The ERU is the unit measurement for stormwater services and is defined as the average amount of impervious area per residential dwelling unit within the city limits. In the City of La Vergne the ERU is equal to 3,181 square feet. Non-Residential users are charged based on the number of ERUs on their property calculated as the quantity of impervious area on their property divided by 3,181 square feet, times $3.50 per ERU.
Since the implementation of the Storm Water Utility Fee, a staff of four has been hired to manage the day-to-day operations of the program under the guidance of the City Engineer. Semi-monthly inspections are performed for each building site and monthly for each development under construction. The Storm Water Department has initiated a mapping program to map the drainage system within the city. The mapping program includes two handheld GPS units used in the field to locate drainage structures and ArcGIS for input in to the County GIS system. Several small drainage improvement projects are completed each month by the staff and each year larger projects are designed and constructed by outside contractors. Staff responds to drainage complaints and assists emergency management personnel during spills of polluting materials to help prevent waterway pollution. Staff also communicate and work hand in hand with the Tennessee Department of Environment environmental specialists. Flooding, Sedimentation and Erosion Control, and Illicit Discharges in the City of La Vergne are being reduced due to the performance of the Storm Water Staff and the implementation of the Storm Water Program within the City of La Vergne.
Finally, the city received an award for Excellence in Communications for the semi-annual newsletter published by the City of La Vergne and edited by publicist Angie Mayes.
The Mayor and Alderman of the City of La Vergne decided in their 2005 retreat to produce a newsletter for the citizens of La Vergne. The newsletter was not meant to replace any web content, Channel 3 or media releases but rather to inform the citizens who do not utilize those methods or want more information on the city. Containing information about various departments and activities, the first newsletter was produced in January, 2006.
Printing in tabloid-style, the 12-page production was sent to more than 12,000 homes and businesses in La Vergne, ensuring city-wide coverage of information. The newsletter is scheduled to be produced twice a year with one coming out in the winter/spring and the other in the summer/fall. So far the response to the newsletter has been positive with citizens offering their ideas of what they’d like to see in future publications. A second newsletter was sent out at the end of June, 2006.
This form of communication the second type of newsletter which the city’s public relations coordinator, Angie Mayes, produces. She is also in charge of producing the monthly employee newsletter, which gets city government-based information to the 160+ employees of the City of La Vergne.
“We are pleased to receive these honors,” said La Vergne Mayor Sherry Green “All of these awards show that by working to implement special programs throughout the city, much can be done to improve the lifestyle of our residents and local workforce. As our city grows, we will continue to ensure that these type of positive improvements take place.”
The GNRC is made up of the 13 counties and 52 cities in the Nashville area. The Council provides assistance to its members in the areas of regional planning and economic development coordination, transportation, solid waste, loans and grants for water and sewer systems, housing, tourism promotion, SBA loans and air quality.
Nice job, folks. :)
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