U.S. Conference of Mayors Announces 2013 City Livability Award Winners at Annual Meeting.

JACKSON, TN- Mayor Jerry Gist and the City of Jackson, Tennessee have been awarded first place honor in the 2013 City Livability Awards Program during The U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 81st Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada. The U.S. Conference of Mayors announced the 2013 City Livability Award Winners on Saturday, June 22, 2013 at the U.S. Conference of Mayors Awards Luncheon in Las Vegas, Nevada.

From a pool of over 200 applicants, former mayors selected Jackson, Tennessee as the most livable small city (populations of less than 100,000). The award recognizes mayoral leadership in developing and implementing programs that improve the quality of life in America’s cities, focusing on the leadership, creativity, and innovation demonstrated by the mayors. This is the 34th year in which cities have competed for the award, which is sponsored by the Conference of Mayors and Waste Management, Inc.

Mayor Gist’s JumpStart Jackson initiative is a community-wide health and wellness initiative intended to make Jackson the “Healthiest City in Tennessee.” The initiative stemmed initially from a “wake-up call” the city received when a company decided against moving to the city because of potentially high employee healthcare costs. Sandy MacDiarmid, Superintendent for Jackson Recreation and Parks and Founding Co-chair of JumpStart Jackson, states, “JumpStart Jackson has encouraged active lifestyles and has made an impact on the quality of life in the city.” The program has improved walkability and bike-ability in the city, increased access to low-cost nutritious foods and created an 80,000 sq. ft. wellness center in downtown Jackson. Not only has the initiative improved livability, it provides economic development benefits. “This award recognizing the JumpStart Jackson initiative further validates Jackson’s position as one of the nation’s leaders in community wellness,” said Kyle Spurgeon, President/CEO, of the Jackson, Tennessee Chamber. Spurgeon stated, “Both new and existing industries consider health outcome factors when evaluating locations for new jobs and investment.” The economic benefit is reflected in healthcare with the City of Jackson seeing a $2 million reduction in city employee healthcare costs in the first year of the program. Mayor Jerry Gist, City of Jackson, Tennessee, states, “We are indeed honored and thankful to be recognized by the United States Conference of Mayors and Waste Management, Inc. for the most livable small city. The success is relative to the willingness of the citizens of Jackson, Tennessee to rethink livability and connect to long-term viability. JumpStart Jackson pioneered a willingness among citizens to surmount a complex challenge. Essential values of cultural diversity, social-engagement, health, and education combined a focus on infrastructure, work-force and economic development efforts to create an attractive and sustainable future.”

The U.S. Conference of Mayors video of the City of Jackson, Tennessee may be viewed at link https://vimeo.com/68867740.

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