Community Partnership of the Ozarks and sponsor Air Services Heating & Cooling hosted the 15th annual Neighborhood Organization Volunteer Awards (NOVA) ceremony, Dec. 7, 2021 at The Oasis to recognize and reward outstanding neighborhood volunteers who work tirelessly to improve and revitalize their communities.
A nova is a brightly shining star. CPO feels organizations and individuals who tirelessly work at making our community a better place to live should be recognized as stars. The annual NOVAs banquet allows us to reflect on the achievements and contributions made by dedicated people in our community. The NOVAs banquet is a highlight of our year and we truly enjoy the opportunity to celebrate those who may go unnoticed for all they do in and for our neighborhoods.
City Councilman Richard Ollis presented the keynote address about Welcoming Change: Celebrating the Past and Embracing the Future, which was the theme of the banquet.
“We chose this theme because over the last 18 months, we’ve all been required to reimagine how we do life, to make changes – both voluntary and involuntary, and to embrace a new normal,” said CPO Caring Communities Director Brooke Ash. “We’ve learned that even through a difficult season, there were still bright spots and positive moments. We’ve come through the unexpected season stronger and more resilient than before. We wanted to make tonight about acknowledging the challenges, reflecting on the good, and inspiring hope and for the future.”
Reaching for the Stars Award
The Reaching for the Stars Award is an annual award given to a person, organization, or partner that has had a particularly large and profound impact on the neighborhoods throughout the past year.
The 2021 Reaching for the Stars Award went to NOVAs sponsor Air Services Heating, Cooling, and All Services Professional Plumbing, which has been a supporter and sponsor of numerous neighborhood events and activities for the last four years.
“They value the work that neighborhoods do to make our city a safer and friendlier place to live and work. They have sponsored, and participated in neighborhood night out events, National Night Out events and NOVA banquets. Because of their continued dedication and support of neighborhoods and CPO, we would like to honor them as the 2021 Reaching for the Stars recipient and thank them for their partnership,” Ash said.
Air Services owner Rich Callahan accepted the award.
Shining Star Award
This year, CPO introduced a new award at the NOVAs – the Shining Star Award. This award goes to an individual who has gone above and beyond as a volunteer at a neighborhood event.
This year’s Shining Star is someone who most people in this room agree deserves special recognition for their hard work and for going above and beyond.
“For several years, scrap metal recycler James Weir has been present at most of the neighborhood clean-ups. He receives some compensation for his work, but he stands out because he truly goes that extra mile. He gets involved and helps unload everyone’s items, even if there’s no metal to be hauled,” Ash said.
Bissett: Eden Village II
Bradford Park: David and Julie Caffey
Brentwood: Mert Seaton
Delaware: Jill Hoener
Galloway Village: Charles Ewing
Grant Beach: Denise Kershner and Rose Stockwell
Greater Parkcrest: Bill and Debbie Butts
Heart of the Westside: Tana Miller
Midtown: Amanda Dixon
Oak Grove: Bonna Kirkhoff
Phelps Grove: Spike Anderson
Robberson: Phyllis Evans
Rountree: Mike Brothers
University Heights: Annette Hollon
West Central: Urban Roots Farm
Westside: Zach Smith
Woodland Heights: Isaiah Lapierre.
Bass Pro Marathon Neighborhood Challenge awards
Concluding the evening were the Great Neighborhoods grants to neighborhoods and the Bass Pro Marathon cheering sections awards.
“On behalf of Bass Pro, thank you to those who were able to participate in the cheering challenge. They report that they got great feedback from runners and having you all at the event cheering your hearts out was a true gift,” Ash said.
Galloway Village took first place and $1,00 in the cheering section competition. Delaware and Woodland Heights tied for second place and each took home $850 each. Mark Twain placed third and took home $750. Midtown took fourth and won $700. Brentwood, Robberson and Westside tied for fifth and each took home $650. Rountree placed sixth and won $600. Meador Park took seventh place and $550. Greater Parkcrest, University Heights, Weller and West Central tied for eighth and each took home $500. Grant Placed placed ninth and took home $250.
Great Neighborhoods grants
Alana Owen from the City’s Planning & Development department awarded $500 Great Neighborhoods grant checks to 14 neighborhoods in recognition of their efforts in 2021.
“This year we awarded eligible neighborhoods a Recognition Grant regardless of points earned due to the impact of COVID-19 on neighborhood activities. Some neighborhoods have been able to resume normal activities, while other neighborhoods are struggling to get back on their feet,” Owen said.
Those eligible for grants were:
- Robberson Neighborhood Association
- West Central Neighborhood Alliance
- Greater Parkcrest Neighborhood Association
- Brentwood Neighborhood Association
- Woodland Heights Neighborhood Association
- University Heights Neighborhood Association
- Bissett Neighborhood Association
- Bradford Park Neighborhood Association
- Westside Neighborhood Betterment Association
- Weller Neighborhood Association
- Grant Beach Neighborhood Association
- Galloway Village Neighborhood Association
- Meador Park Neighborhood Association
- Phelps Neighborhood Association.
The Great Neighborhoods program encourages clean, safe, and friendly neighborhoods through activities and programs that develop relationships between neighbors and their neighborhood association. This is a voluntary program where registered neighborhoods can participate and earn points toward designation as a City of Springfield Great Neighborhood, along with grant money to be used toward a neighborhood program or activity.
Points can be earned in the three categories that define Great Neighborhoods: clean, safe, and friendly. Neighborhoods are scored and ranked based on the information in their application as well as their effort to follow the four principles of the Great Neighborhoods program:
- Residents must lead the process.
- A long-term commitment is expected.
- All neighbors interested in participating must be included.
- Continual activities that engage everyone in the neighborhood.
Neighborhoods can earn up to:
- $500 – 9 points (at least 3 points in each category)
- $750 – 18 points (at least 6 points in each category)
- $1,000* – 18 points (at least 6 points in each category) * requires a $250 match.