The National Civic League announced that the City of Somerville is one of ten winners of the 2009 All America City (AAC) Awards. Somerville was one of the 30 cities selected from thousands of entrants across the nation to vie for the title in Tampa. The award, which this year celebrates its 60th anniversary, is the best known and most competitive civic awards program in the United States, and this is the second win for Somerville, which received its first title in 1972. A 40-member delegation including representatives of the business community, local non-profit organizations, youth groups , city government and residents presented Somerville's qualifications for the award to a jury of national experts in a series of three-day events that culminated in a 10-minute skit on the city's efforts to support and prepare for the Green Line Extension Project.
The All America City Award is America's original community recognition award, honoring communities of all sizes where community members, government, businesses and nonprofit organizations work together to address critical local issues. To win, communities must demonstrate close and effective collaboration among the public, private and nonprofit sectors to identify and advance the progress of key goals shared by the community. Other criteria include recognition and inclusion of the diverse segments of the population in community decision-making, creative use of community resources, and clear demonstration of project results and impacts, among many others. The finalists are selected on the basis of extensive written applications submitted in March.
Somerville was named an All America City in 1972, and was named as a finalist in 2008. The 2009 application included information on Somerville's Green Line Extension Project, diversity and communication issues, and youth issues such as Somerville Cares About Prevention, Somerville Positive Forces 100, and the Mayor's Suicide Prevention Task Force.