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City to vie for All-America status Friday
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A 15-member delegation from Covington comprised of elected officials, city administrators, law enforcement personnel and civic leaders left Tuesday for Anaheim, Calif., where they will vie against 21 other nominated cities for the title of All-America City. Though only 10 cities will receive the title for 2007, delegation member John Boothby, president of the Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce, believes just being nominated is an honor. "I don't think it's possible for Covington to lose," Boothby said. "It's like being nominated for an Oscar. Just being nominated means a lot." Of the 600 communities across the nation who applied to the National Civil League for the honor, Covington is the only Georgia city nominated. In its 58th year, The All-America City Awards recognize exemplary community vision and collaborative problem solving.  "I'm feeling really good about it. Looking at our qualifications, I think we ought to be in good shape," said Covington Mayor Sam Ramsey, another member of the delegation. "We've got stiff competition. But I think we're going to make it." Covington's many qualifications include its status as a Signature Community of Georgia and the recent full accreditation of all four of its municipal departments: police, fire, public works and 911 communications. "We're only one of three cities in the whole country to be accredited in all areas, so that fact alone ought to help us a lot," Ramsey said.  Covington's All-America delegation will make its 10-minute presentation to a panel of national business, government and nonprofit leaders Thursday. Boothby said the presentation will include information about the city's work supporting children, its Livable Centers Initiative and the city's interaction with nonprofits such as The Washington Street Center and The Center for Community Preservation and Planning. Ramsey said he believes it is the city's work and cooperation with nonprofits which really sets Covington apart. "We're kind of known around the state of Georgia for this, and I think if we win this award, we'll probably be known nationally for it," Ramsey said. In addition to receiving national recognition and applause, Boothby said being nominated for and winning the All-America City Award could result in further economic development for the city and for Newton County. "That tells a company in short order that this is a community that knows how to get things done and work together," Boothby said. The 10 winners of the 2007 All-America City Award will be announced at a banquet Friday evening. Covington's delegation will fly home the next day.