FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Mayor Tom Henry accepted on Sunday the 2021 All-America City Award on behalf of Fort Wayne.

To kick off the city’s fourth annual Open Streets celebration at Promenade Park, Valerie Lemmie of the National Civic League presented the award to recognize the city as one that is “building equitable and resilient communities.”

“Being named an All-America City is a tremendous accomplishment and is an indication of how Fort Wayne is moving forward in the right direction,” said Mayor Tom Henry. “We’re working each day to provide opportunities for every person who calls Fort Wayne home. Collectively, we’re doing everything possible to engage, innovate, and perform, and I truly believe our best days are ahead of us.”

The City of Fort Wayne said it submitted its All-America City application for consideration in February and was chosen to be one of twenty finalists. The city’s application highlighted three community-building projects such as the riverfront, Fort Wayne United, and the FWCS Engagement Center.

“It’s not just a plaque. It’s us being able to showcase our story and really make sure that everybody in the nation hears about what the amazing thing is going on in Fort Wayne,” said Stephanie Crandall, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for the city. “We actually have an opportunity to engage with a lot of the other cities that are active through the National civic league to tell them what has worked here some best practices and how they might be able to do those things in their community.”

Each of the finalists were required to make a ten minute presentation, allowing another ten minutes for questions from the National Civic League judging committee. Fort Wayne’s All-America City presentation is available to view on Facebook.

The award, given to 10 communities each year since 1949, celebrates and recognizes villages, cities, counties, tribes and regions that engage residents in innovative, inclusive and effective efforts to tackle critical challenges, the city said.