Keene’s leadership is representative in its achievements, recognition and awards, consistent voting record, longevity of service and consistent high bond rating.
Keene has been recognized time and again as a great place to live, work, and raise a family:
- Top 10 Great Public Spaces, Central Square – Recognized by the American Planning Association’s Great Places in America program, 2009.
- The third least economically vulnerable micropolitan town in America by Forbes magazine in November 2008
- Among “America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2003
- One of the top 10 Great Places to Raise a Family by Parenting Magazine in their tenth anniversary issue (May, 1997)
- The 10th best small city in the East (tied with Cortland, NY) in a book titled The New Rating Guide to Life in America’s Small Cities by Kevin Heubusch (Prometheus Books, 1997)
- One of New Hampshire’s top ten neighborhoods where history and community combine (the South End; March, 2009).
- All America City, 1964
In addition, the citizens of Keene have consistently shown their leadership and community involvement through a consistent voting record in the State General Elections. In the last two elections, 77% of registered voters (out of 16,546) and 73% of registered voters (out of 18,420) cast their ballot on Election Day.
The City of Keene has also consistently retained a high bond rating of A1 from Moody’s, which reflects “a continued trend of strong and stable financial operations … the rating also incorporates the community’s moderately-sized tax base, a healthy and stable economy, and average debt burden.” The community has also consistently received a AA- rating that reflects good financial management practices and policies, very strong financial reserve levels, and a stable and diverse economy indicating the community’s “very strong capacity to meet financial commitments.”
All-America City Awards
The National Civic League recognizes 10 communities each year for outstanding civic accomplishments. To win, each community must demonstrate innovation, inclusiveness, civic engagement, and cross sector collaboration by describing successful efforts to address pressing local challenges.
More than 500 communities have won the award, some as many as five times. All-America Cities have shown the ability to innovate in such areas as job creation, neighborhood revitalization, crime reduction, new housing for low income people, improving education, and engaging youth.
The award program was founded in 1949 when a newspaper reporter approached the National Civic League (then known as the National Municipal League) with the idea of naming the 10 best governed cities each year. Instead, the league created a program that recognized cities for civic achievements.
Today the award competition is open to neighborhoods, towns, cities, counties and metropolitan regions. In their applications, AAC finalists briefly tell their community stories, list two of their most pressing challenges and three outstanding community projects. The award program culminates in a three-day event where community delegations tell their stories of successful change to a national jury of business, non-profit, and local government experts. All-America Cities benefit by increasing community pride, networking with civic activists from across the country and gaining national recognition. The AAC designation has helped communities win grants and new resources and attract new employers.