Carlisle was named the winner of the 2016 Strongest Town contest Monday, April 4, taking 52 percent of the votes over Hoboken, New Jersey, which received 48 percent of the votes. Dickinson's hometown earned the victory through online voting on the Strong Towns website, which advocates for strong cities, towns and neighborhoods for a more prosperous America.
The Strong Town contest matched 16 towns against one another in a March Madness bracket-style tournament, and Carlisle beat out Annapolis, Md.; Truckee, Calif.; and Holland, Mich., to advance to the finals vs. Hoboken.
"The site looks for progressive towns that actively seek opportunities to connect people in their community," says Brenda Landis, Dickinson's multimedia specialist, who submitted Carlisle to the contest and has been leading the charge to rally votes. "Strong Towns looks for big projects—like the Carlisle Urban Redevelopment Plan—as well as how residents get involved and sculpt the town."
Landis is hopeful the competition brings attention to the fact that Carlisle residents—including Dickinsonians—can play an important role in the town's future.
"The competition has provided a platform for all people to see some of the big and small projects that are in process in town," she says. "I’m hopeful that it also sparks interest in current residents to start looking at Carlisle as a work in progress to which they can actively contribute. This includes students, many of whom already volunteer with organizations in town."
Published April 1, 2016