STAMFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In small towns and cities across the country, community leaders, business owners and local government officials have come together to complete applications to enter the America’s Best Communities competition, a $10 million initiative to stimulate local economic revitalization. The competition’s sponsors, Frontier Communications, DISH Network, CoBank and The Weather Channel today announced that 138 applicant teams — representing 347 communities — have submitted applications that outline their shared vision for a stronger economic future and improved quality of life.
America’s Best Communities aims to jumpstart development and investment in small cities and rural towns across Frontier’s 27-state footprint. After launching Sept. 10, the competition encouraged communities to dream big and submit their best ideas to accelerate the revival of their local economies and foster sustained growth.
Frontier, DISH, CoBank and The Weather Channel will announce the 50 communities selected as quarterfinalists on Wednesday, April 29. Each community will be awarded $35,000 to help finance the development of a comprehensive Community Revitalization Plan. The community best able to envision and implement their community revitalization plan will be awarded $3 million.
All 138 applications are being reviewed by a panel of independent expert judges who will select the 50 winning communities based upon an objective set of criteria. Applicant proposals range from downtown revitalization programs to start-up business incubators to streetscape improvements.
“With America’s Best Communities, we’ve given small cities and rural towns an opportunity to enhance their quality of life and improve their economic future. We are thrilled that approximately 350 communities are seeking to win the competition,” said Maggie Wilderotter, Executive Chairman of Frontier Communications. “The partnerships and strategies fostered by this competition will help transform communities from coast to coast and support our nation’s economic recovery. Their innovation can create new city business models. ”
“One of our nation’s greatest assets is the grit and determination distinctive to the people of rural America,” said Vince Gill, the country music great who has served as an ambassador for the competition. “They’ve got everything it takes to build a brighter future for themselves and their families, and the America’s Best Communities competition offers the additional financial support these communities need to deliver on their dreams.”
“The competition will spur investment from many other sources and have a multiplier effect. In addition, we will share the top planning ideas with all participants, which can serve as roadmaps for growth for all rural communities across the United States,” Wilderotter added.
America’s Best Communities, a multi-stage, three-year competition, will provide $4 million in seed money and other support to assist communities as they develop their revitalization plans. The top three communities will receive a total of $6 million in prize money.
The 50 quarterfinalist communities will have six months to refine, sharpen and submit their comprehensive plans to be considered for additional investment. All 50 quarterfinalists will have a large sponsor company that will help them improve and implement their plans. In early 2016, 15 semifinalists will then be selected to attend the America’s Best Communities summit to present their strategies. Eight finalists will then be awarded $100,000 to continue implementation of their plans.
In April 2017, America’s Best Communities will name its three competition winners — those with the most innovative proposals being effectively implemented. The winning community will be awarded $3 million, with $2 million for second place and $1 million for third.
About FRONTIER COMMUNICATIONS
Frontier Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: FTR) offers broadband, voice, video, wireless Internet data access, data security solutions, bundled offerings, specialized bundles for residential customers, small businesses and home offices and advanced communications for medium and large businesses in 28 states. Frontier's approximately 17,400 employees are based entirely in the United States. More information is available at www.frontier.com.
DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ: DISH), through its subsidiaries, provides approximately 13.978 million pay-TV subscribers, as of Dec. 31, 2014, with the highest-quality programming and technology with the most choices at the best value. Subscribers enjoy a high definition line-up with more than 200 national HD channels, the most international channels, and award-winning HD and DVR technology. DISH Network Corporation is a Fortune 250 company. Visit www.dish.com.
CoBank is a $107 billion cooperative bank serving vital industries across rural America. The bank provides loans, leases, export financing and other financial services to agribusinesses and rural power, water and communications providers in all 50 states. The bank also provides financial services to affiliated Farm Credit associations serving farmers, ranchers and other rural borrowers in 23 states around the country. CoBank is a member of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of banks and retail lending associations chartered to support the borrowing needs of U.S. agriculture and the nation's rural economy. Visit www.cobank.com.
About The Weather Channel
Through The Weather Channel (weather.com) and Weather Underground (wunderground.com) brands, The Weather Company provides millions of people every day with the world's best weather forecasts, content and data, connecting with them through television, online, mobile and tablet screens, as well as third-party publishing partners via API. Through WSI, the company delivers superior professional weather services for the media, aviation and energy sectors. For more information, visit www.theweathercompany.com.