Hickory wins the All-America City title for the third time
HICKORY – Hickory is a three-time All-America City winner!
The National Civic League’s All-America City jury announced Hickory as a winner on June 8, 2007,
during an awards ceremony in Anaheim, California. A team of Hickory representatives traveled to
California last week to give a 10-minute presentation and answer questions from a national panel of
judges. Prior to the Hickory team traveling to California, Hickory was named an All-America City finalist
in April after submittin a comprehensive 2007 All-America City application.
“It is an honor for Hickory, North Carolina to receive the All-America City Award for the third time (1967
- 1987 - 2007) and I am so proud of our grassroots organizations that make Hickory a wonderful place to
live,” said Hickory Mayor Rudy Wright. “Hickory is a city where individuals, organizations, and
businesses take care of one another and work together to solve problems – no matter how large or small.”
The 2007 All-America City application and presentation focuses on the economic downturn that occurred
in Hickory at the turn of the 21st century and what the community has done to turn the economic climate
around. When the manufacturing plants closed in the early 2000s, there was a need to retrain and
reeducate citizens because more than 12,600 people lost manufacturing jobs between 2001 – 2003. The
application and presentation spotlights three organizations - Hickory Metro Higher Education Center,
Hickory Public Schools’ Project Potential and Exodus Home - that addressed critical needs in the Hickory
community during that time. Over the last three years, these organizations have many success stories to
tell, which include raising the education attainment level and keeping the inner city safe from crime.
The All-America City Team is made up of city and business leaders and representatives from Exodus
Homes, Hickory Public Schools’ Project Potential and the Hickory Metro Higher Education Center. Team
members are: Mayor Rudy Wright, Donna Wright, City Councilwoman Z. Ann Hoyle, Mick Berry, Maj.
Tom Adkins, Mandy Pitts, Jean Yoder, Danny Hearn, Mike Langford, Michael Smyre, Mystic Smyre, Jane
Everson, Jeff Fitzgerald, Ann Sperry, Vong Chang, Carlton Utley, Teresa Rice, Rev. Reggie Longcrier,
Susan Smith, Chris Johnson, Phrank Moses, Lori Kincaid, Brittany Kincaid, Scottie Sue Brittain, Helen
Devlin, Jenny Vang, Rosy Cisneros, Sandi Fotheringham, Cathy Blackwelder, and Nikki Lynn.
“It was and continues to be an honor to represent the community on behalf of Project Potential,” said
Jenny Vang who is a team member and graduate of the Project Potential program. “This is also an exciting
time for me because my mentor with Project Potential (Helen Devlin) continues to stay in touch with me
while I attend Lenoir-Rhyne College.”
Community businesses, organizations and individuals have generously financial supported the All-
America City effort. We appreciate all of our All-America City sponsors: Underdown Foundation, Bank of
Granite, Hickory Metro Higher Education Center, Frye Regional Medical Center, Catawba Valley
Medical Center, Catawba Valley Association of Realtors, Martin Marietta, Hickory Auto Group, Mike
Johnson Toyota, Hayes, Seay, Mattern & Mattern, Inc., Paramount Kia, Duke Energy, Embarq, BB&T,
Hickory Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, Catawba County Economic Development Corporation,
Hickory Furniture Mart, Sue Millholland, People’s Bank, Galaxy Foods, HK Research, Hickory Housing
Authority, T. Cass Ballenger, Triad Packaging, Talbert and Bright, Inc., Pepsi, First Citizens Bank, Bass-
Smith Funeral Home, Newton and Associates, Henry and Faye Kyzer, Arnita Dula, A Sign Co., Shurtape
Technologies, Johnson Hosiery, Lee Industries, A Sally Company, Viewmont Pharmacy, Apparel
Technology, Catawba County Chamber of Commerce, Hickory Daily Record, Lenoir-Rhyne College, and
the Hickory City Council.
The National Civic League (NCL) sponsors the All-America City program, which recognizes exemplary
grassroots community problem solving. The award is given to communities who cooperatively tackle their
challenges and achieve results. The Award celebrates vibrant, resourceful communities where neighbors
pitch in together; communities with a diverse collection of talents and people who do not dwell on the
problems of the past, but focus instead on the opportunities of the present and possibilities for the future.
For 58 years, the All-America City Award has encouraged and recognized civic excellence, honoring
communities of all sizes in which community members, government, businesses and non-profit
organizations work together to address their critical local issues. Since 1949, more than 4,000
communities have applied and about 500 have been selected as All-America City winners.
Being named an All-America City brings many benefits to a community including national recognition and
helps build the economic base. Hickory saw this happen after receiving the award in 1967 and 1987.
According to the NCL, the award can bring new businesses and jobs, new residents, increase in tourism,
increase in grants, enhanced tax base and a higher bond rating.
Citizens, businesses and civic leaders are encouraged to attend the first public celebration which will
be held on July 1, 2007 between 3 – 6 p.m. at the SALT Block, which is located at 243 3rd Avenue,
NW in Hickory. This event is in conjunction with the Western Piedmont Symphony and the
Hickory Public Library’s “Old Fashioned Freedom Celebration!”
Hickory’s All-America City application, script and various other information about Hickory’s quest to be
an All-America City can be viewed at www.hickorygov.com.