Davenport has become only the sixth city in the country to be selected a Star Communities' 4-Star Community for excellence in environmental, economic and social sustainability.
"It helps in recruiting potential employers to come to the city," Mayor Bill Gluba said during a news conference Monday at the Eastern Avenue branch of the Davenport Public Library.
The recognition means Davenport is Iowa's only, and the Midwest's largest, 4‐Star Community.
Star Communities is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., that administers a rating system with a comprehensive set of community metrics that cities, towns and counties can use to measure performance across diverse areas. The voluntary program helps communities assess current conditions and find solutions to address current and emerging challenges.
More than 75 communities in 33 states and in Canada are using the rating system. The other 4-Star Communities are Tacoma, Wash.; Broward County, Fla.; Austin, Texas; Evanston, Ill.; and Tucson, Ariz. The only current 5‐Star city is Northampton, Mass.
"This national recognition reinforces what we all know. Davenport is a great city to live, work, retire, recreate and invest in," Gluba said. "Davenport is a national leader in innovation, livability and sustainability, and this recognition reinforces our leadership. I can’t thank our staff and our community partners enough for all their hard work to make Davenport such a wonderful place.”
“The city of Davenport and its many community partners are clearly doing great work to safeguard and enhance the lives of current residents while preparing to meet the needs of future generations,” Hilari Varnadore, the executive director of Star Communities, said in a news release. “The people of Davenport should be very proud of this accomplishment."
Davenport achieved perfect scores in the categories of arts and culture, civil and human rights, and outdoor air quality. Near-perfect scores were achieved in green infrastructure, hazard mitigation and public spaces. In all, the city received 439.1 points, doubling the score posted by Des Moines. Other categories include housing affordability, workforce readiness, human services, indoor air quality, safe communities and local economy.
City officials also said that Davenport is one of 31 local governments selected to participate in a year‐long pilot program for the rating system.
"It is the first national system for rating sustainability," City Administrator Craig Malin said.
Malin said it took city staff 1 1/2 years to complete the work for the submission to Star Communities. He said the rating is good for a three-year period, after which the city hopes to reach new heights with the program.
"We are not here to go backward. We are here to go forward," he said. "It is for three years, then we have to reapply.
"As we test ourselves against the highest standards, we are right on the leading edge. It is a very robust measure, and with each one of these categories there are more than 40 measurements we have to demonstrate what we have done."