Skip to main content

Centralina Regional Council Presents Region of Excellence Awards

City of Salisbury receives Local Government Innovation Award For 2020 Cheerwine Festival

Yesterday, Centralina Regional Council announced the recipients of the Region of Excellence Awards in a virtual ceremony. Presented annually, these awards recognize individuals, communities and organizations for their outstanding achievements in support of Centralina’s mission to expand opportunity and improve quality of life in the nine-county, Centralina region which includes Anson, Cabarrus, Gaston, Lincoln, Iredell, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly and Union counties.

“Local governments nominated an innovative project, program, plan or individual that contributed to significant and positive advancements in the region this past year” said Geraldine Gardner, Centralina Regional Council Executive Director. “The Region of Excellence Awards provides an excellent forum for county and community leaders to learn from best practices and to network with their peers in the region,” said Gardner.

An independent panel of judges reviewed the forty-four applications and selected the award winners.  Centralina thanks this year’s judges: Tom Barth, Professor and MPA Director at UNC at Charlotte; Vicki Bott, former Grants Development Director for Centralina; and Michael Johnson, Former City of Statesville Council Member and Former Centralina Chair. A separate panel of experts evaluated the Clean Fuels category and included Michael McDonald, UPS Corporate Automotive and Senior Director Sustainability and Government Affairs; Stephen Whaley, Propane Education and Research Council; and Mike Riley, CNG Business Development Piedmont Natural Gas.

Centralina Regional Council is honored to announce the 2020 Region of Excellence Awards’ winners: 

  • Cross-Community Collaboration Award – Mecklenburg County Public Health Community Partnerships During COVID-19: Mecklenburg County officials began planning early for a public health crisis that would require emergency humanitarian on a communitywide basis. Mecklenburg County Public Health developed community partnerships with representatives from Fire, Police and Medic working in coordination with the City of Charlotte, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, area hospital systems, the County’s municipalities and the State of North Carolina to ensure continuity of operations and the health and safety of the community. These partnerships facilitated a coordinated response to the crisis and helped mitigate its impact. 
  • Local Government Innovation Award – 2020 Virtual Cheerwine Festival: Attracting more than 100,000 visitors, the Cheerwine Festival is a beloved annual event in downtown Salisbury. When COVID led to the cancellation of the festival last year, Cheerwine and the City of Salisbury moved the fun online by holding a virtual Cheerwine Festival on May 16. The three-hour online event featured live virtual musical performances and an online marketplace for vendors and downtown businesses and Cheerwine raised funds for the Rowan County United Way COVID-19 Relief Fund.
  • Improving Quality of Life Award – Kannapolis Downtown Revitalization: In 2015, the City of Kannapolis launched a bold plan to purchase the entire 50 acres of downtown from a single property owner. This land purchase was the first step in revitalizing a dormant and vacated business district. The City developed a downtown master plan which would leverage public investment to attract private investment. Over the next five years, the City invested $113 million with the expectation it could attract more than $374 million in private investment over the next ten years. Currently, about $100 million in private investment is already underway which will revitalize the City of Kannapolis, increase commercial and residential development and increase tourism.
  • Clean Cities Award – Charlotte Department of Transportation Strategic Energy Action Plan: The Charlotte Department of Transportation has completed a number of activities to support their goals in the Strategic Energy Action Plan implementation, including purchasing eight electric vehicles (EVs), proactively installing EV chargers across City-owned properties and working with Chargepoint for public access. They have also trained employees on EV charging protocol and are exploring options with heavy-duty equipment. These actions will reduce greenhouse gases, increase charging infrastructure and create a friendlier EV city.
  • Aging in Action Award – Shirley Wiggins: This year’s Aging in Action Award will be presented to the family of Shirley Wiggins in memory of her selfless dedication and extraordinary advocacy for the needs of older adults and individuals with disabilities. When COVID began impacting North Carolina, Wiggins led a countywide effort to purchase and distribute masks for long-term care facilities where they were in short supply. 
  • James D. Prosser Excellence in Leadership Award (Small Community) – Lesley “Tug” Deason: Mr. Lesley “Tug” Deason, the Town of Stanley Parks and Recreation Director, is a passionate and tireless advocate for public parks for his community. From campaigning to save a local school gym from being torn down to helping the city purchase their own city park, Deason is relentless. He raised more than $1 million dollars in grants and donations for the park and generated grassroots support from citizens by having yard sales, hot dog sales, raffles, pageants and other fundraising events.
  • James D. Prosser Excellence in Leadership Award (Large Community) – Dena Diorio: Few leaders in the history of Mecklenburg County have faced the challenges that Dena R. Diorio has during her career as County Manager of the largest county in North Carolina. She led Mecklenburg County’s COVID-19 response, spearheaded the Intergovernmental Policy Group, created the COVID 19 Business Leaders Task Force, launched the Community Resources Center to bring County Social Services to residents where they live. Additional accomplishments include convening The Leading on Opportunity Task Force out of which the County created the MECK Pre-K Program. Diorio is a true leader who has earned the trust and respect of the residents and business community through her collaborative, transparent work style. Working with the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners, she keeps residents safe and healthy while supporting a thriving business community. 
  • COVID-19 Resiliency Award – Remote Learning Center at E.E. Waddell Community Center: When Albemarle Parks & Recreation (APR) staff learned that educating children would not happen in classrooms due to COVID-19, they rallied together to create options to help support the community, including the development of the Remote Learning Center (RLC) at E.E. Waddell Community Center. Staffed by APR, the RLC provided children with a support system for education, social growth and physical activity in the remote learning environment and focused on children who were at risk of falling behind without the structure, resources and support they would get in the classroom. 
  • COVID-19 Resiliency Award – Mecklenburg County COVID-19 Policy Group: The Mecklenburg County COVID-19 Policy Group was formed in response to the pandemic last year. Chaired by the Mecklenburg County Manager, the Policy Group included the Charlotte City Manager, six town managers in Mecklenburg County, Director of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management, Charlotte Mecklenburg School Superintendent, CMPD Deputy Police Chief, Charlotte Fire Chief, CEO of MEDIC, Mecklenburg County Sheriff, Chief Medical Officer of Atrium Health, Chief Clinical Officer of Novant Health, Mecklenburg County Public Health Director, Trial Court Administrator, Joint Information Center (JIC) and the Director of Mecklenburg County Board of Elections. The Policy Group’s goal was to ensure a comprehensive approach to managing the pandemic and responding to community needs for testing, vaccinations and mask distribution. 
  • COVID-19 Resiliency Award – Town of Davidson COVID-19 Business Support: Like so many communities across the country, COVID-19 upended the way business and community matters were handled for the Town of Davidson. In response, the Town, led by Economic Development Manager Kim Fleming, quickly initiated collaborative communication between Mecklenburg County, the Town of Davidson, businesses and the local community to gather meaningful input on priorities for businesses to reopen safely. As a result, Davidson businesses were able to adapt their business models and be more resilient in the face of unprecedented change. 

COVID-19 challenged all of our communities and businesses, so we also wanted to give a special COVID-19 Resiliency Recognition to the following recipients for their work during the pandemic:

  • Cabarrus County Vaccine Transportation
  • Comfort Call Collaborative in Union County for combatting social isolation in senior citizens
  • John Lewis, CATS CEO for his swift action to maintain a safe and effective transit system
  • Masks for Gastonia Initiative
  • Mount Holly Small Business Emergency Loan Program

“The pandemic changed the way we do business and required flexibility, collaboration and innovation to ensure continuity of services,” said Commissioner Bobby Compton of Mooresville, Chairman of the Centralina Regional Council Board. “We are proud to recognize how these individuals and communities responded during one of the most challenging times in our nation’s history.”

For more information about Centralina Regional Council, please visit

  • Gallery


Media Kit

Media outlets and journalists can get helpful resources in one place.

Go to Media Kit
Para leer los boletines traducidos al español, visite:ñol

Monthly Newsletter

08/2021Rowan Creek Week | Back-to-School Resource Fair | New Crime Information Center | Blockwork Awarded Lowe's Grant For $100,000
07/2021Salisbury Cease Fire | Citizen's Academy | Summer Spruce Up Week | Sculpture Show
06/2021Summer Camps | Transit Director Award | Hurricane Tips | Wine About Winter
05/2021City & Partners to Boost Minority Business | Festival Looks For Volunteers | BlockWork Nominations Open | Bike Safety Tips
04/2021School Officers | New Look For Downtown | Local Humanitarians Receive EDK Awards | Employee Spotlight
03/2021Dixonville Memorial Missing Connections | New Bill Pay System Coming | Spring Spruce Up | Stormwater Survey Seeks Solutions | Ring In Spring Event
02/2021New Fire Station & Memorial Event | Protect Your Pipes | Join A Board Or Commission | Save The Date For Cheerwine | Employee Spotlight
01/2021Holiday Storefront Winners, Celebrate MLK, Main St. Plan, Nominate A Local Hero, Funds For Fire Suppression
12/2020SRU Exceeds Water Standard | Bring On 2021 Virtual New Year's Eve | Public Input Wanted
11/2020Christmas Bike Program Returns | Showcase Your Art In Salisbury | Give The Gift Of Water | Be Safe This Black Friday
10/2020ACCESS16 Now WSRG-TV | Voting Coming Up Fast | Volunteer For BlockWork | RCUW Donates Cameras To SPD
09/2020Dixonville Memorial Phase 2 | Leaf Map | Census 2020 | ADA/Parantransit Service | Go Transit Month | Safe Exchange Zone
08/2020Shop Local | Lock Your Car | Utility Bills | Enjoy Art Outdoors | Census Extended
07/2020Citizen's Academy | Mobile Recreation | Keep Our Parks Beautiful | Recycling Can Swap | Employee Spotlight
06/2020 Virtual Festival Is Big Hit | Hurricane Season | Spring Spruce Up | City Prepares Next Year's Budget | Flush Smart | 2020 Census
05/2020Virtual Cheerwine Festival | From The City Manager | Play At Home | BlockWork | From The Mayor | Alternative Bill Pay
04/2020City Response to COVID-19 | Helpful Resource | CAC/Tree Board Awards | Spring Spruce Up \ SPD Engages With Community
03/2020Be Part of the Cheer | EDK Awards | 2020 Census | Hurley Park Spring Celebration | Forward 2040 | Fire Station #6
02/2020Weathering The Storm | Nixle Is Now RoCo Alerts | EyeOnWater Is Smart On Money | Cheerwine Festival Returns May 16 | Employee Spotlight | Census 2020
01/2020EDK Nominations | Runner-Friendly Community | Start/Change Water Services | Cheerwine Applications | Employee Spotlight | Winterize Your Pipes | Winter Spruce Up
12/2019Newsome Road | MLK Day | New Year's Eve | Sip of Local Wine | Citizens Academy | United Way Fundraiser
11/2019Bike Giveaway | Plan For Downtown's Future | Don't Get Clogged | Lost Families | Sculpture Show
10/2019Fire Prevention Week | City Park Lake | Forward 2040 | Fall Spruce Up | Be Ready To Vote | Employee Spotlight | Leaf Collection Map
09/2019Butterfly Release | Scoop the Poop | Dog Swim Party | Transit Month | Blockwork | Neighborhood Officer Map
08/2019Salisbury Youth Employees | New SPD Initiatives | Youth Baseball Camp | Brewbury Fest Returns | Recycling
07/2019Keep Salisbury Beautiful | Save The Date for Cheerwine Fest 2020 | Back To School | National Night Out | Beat the Summer Heat
06/2019Sculpture Show Returns | Summer Camps | Hurricane Season Tips | Weather Alerts | Pool Hours | #PositiveGossip | Employee Spotlight | Summer Spruce Up | Celebrate Garbage Man Day
05/2019Look Behind the Scenes | Cheerwine Festival | BlockWork Accepting Applications | #FeelingCuteChallenge | Watch Your Water Usage with EyeOnWater
04/2019Festival Music Lineup | Locals Receive EDK Awards | Business with the City | SPD Foot Pursuit 5K | City Nature Challenge
03/2019Celebrate Spring At Hurley Park | Runner-Friendly Community | Cheerwine Festival Volunteers | Employee Spotlight | SPD Ride-A-Long Program | Contact Directory
02/2019Cheerwine Festival Vendor Applications Open | Get Involved, Apply Now | Fair Housing Seeks Volunteers | Council Retreat Open to Public | Snow Safety | Employee Spotlight | Main St. Conference in Salisbury
01/2019EDK Nominations | Holiday Storefront Awards | Celebrating MLK Weekend | Employee Spotlight | Winter Spruce Up Week | Transit Survey | New Tools Keeps An Eye On Water
12/2018West End Takes Pride In New Wall | Are You A Landlord? | Citizen's Academy Grads | Celebrating MLK Day | Chit, Chat & Chew | Winter is Coming | A Word From the Mayor
11/2018Holiday Events for Salisbury | Leaf Season is Here | Receive Text Alerts from the City | Know Your FOG | Tips for Holiday Safe Shopping | #Positive Gossip | Team Effort "Draws Up" Fire Prevention Billboard
10/2018City Rallies Against Florence | Families Invited to the Fun Fest | La Fiesta Returns to Downtown | Fibrant Transition to Hotwire | Empire Hotel Redevelopment | October 7-13 is Fire Prevention Week
09/2018Summer Internship Inspires Local Students | Mayor Hosts Free Youth Baseball/Softball Camp | SPD & DOJ OJP Share Assessment Findings | Getting Ready Fur Fun | A Paw-some Pool Party
08/2018First Brewbury Fest | Recycle Often, Recycle Right | Chit, Chat & Chew Town Halls | Community Resource Fair | #PositiveGossip | Reader Survey
07/2018National Night Out | Groundbreaking for Dixonville | Summer Spruce Up | Cheerwine Festival Save the Date 2019 | Reminder to Protect Your Car | Council Approves City Budget
06/2018BlockWork | Parks & Rec Summer Camps | Senior Center Programs | Salisbury Citizen's Academy | Summer Spruce Up | Prepare for Hurricane Season
05/2018Cheerwine Fest Announces Band List | Did You Know? | Sculpture Show Unveiled | Salisbury Transit Teams with Google | Police Chief's Citizen Advisory Board
04/2018Hackathon for Kids | Police Hold Foot Pursuit 5K | Cheerwine Festival Returns | Fibrant Referendum | Easy Online Bill Pay | Free Class for Homebuyers | Meet Your City Council
03/2018Teen Center Now Open | Locals Receive EDK Awards | Cemetery Clean Up | SPD Annual Report | Keep Salisbury Beautiful | Event Calendar
02/2018Rookies Reach Firefighter Dream | Project Safe Neighborhoods | Get City Alerts by text | Get on the Bus | #Positive Gossip | Parks & Rec Has New Programs | Watch Out for Frozen Pipes
01/2018City Budget Process | Transit Begins Adopt-a-Shelter Program | Prepare Your Home for Winter | Get Fit in 2018 for Parks and Rec | Stop Where?
12/2017Winter Holiday Safety Tips | MLK Celebration | SFD 200 Year Anniversary | Trades-Based Training | Waste Collection Services | Crime Tracker
11/2017Downtown for the Holidays | New Waste Collection Routes | City Launches New Website | Tips for Safe Shopping | DSI and City host Open House for Empire Hotel
10/2017Salisbury Historic Landmarks | Residents Begin Community Action Planning | Salisbury311 Reporting Tool | Fire Prevention Week | Fall Spruce Up Week
09/2017BLOCKWORK | Salisbury's Kids are G.R.E.A.T. | La Fiesta de Rowan | Summer Sip Beer Festival | #PositiveGossip
08/2017SPD Provides Expanded Foot Patrols | Summer Youth Employment | School Tools Donations | Summer Sip Tasting Tour | #PositiveGossip
07/2017City Approves FY18 Budget | New Columbaria | City versus County Responsibilities | New Recycling Company | Receive City Text Alerts
06/2017SRU is Getting Smarter | The City Flag Flies High | Youth Protection & Curfew | Spotlight on Summer Camps | Movies in the Park | A Word from the Mayor
05/2017Intentional Citizen Contact | Fire Department Open House | Residents help shape future | Fur Fun 5K Walk/Run | Let's Get Connected Day
04/2017Shop Local, Eat Fresh | Salisbury is a Tree City, USA | Fair Housing | Spring Spruce Up
03/2017Bell Tower Repairs | Celebrating Hurley Park | City Battles Snowstorm | Another way to Bill Pay | Calling all yogis and dancers
02/2017Salisbury Fire Department marks 200th Anniversary | Get fit with Parks and Rec | Medication Drop Boxes | Are you ready for winter? | #PositiveGossip
01/2017Holiday Storefront Winners | Salisbury Youth Council | City Calendar | City Phone Directory | Moonlight Basketball | #PositiveGossip
12/2016Salisbury Sculpture Show Winner, Free Wi-Fi in Cannon Park, City Calendar, Salisbury Fire Dept Deploys to Eastern NC, K-9 Officer Retirement, Greetings from the Mayor
11/2016Salisbury Transit wins Award | Know your F.O.G. | Nixle Sign Up | City Calendar | Tips for Safe Shopping | Team Salisbury

Subscribe to our newsletter

También disponible en español

Copyright 2021 by City of Salisbury, NC Terms Of UsePrivacy Statement
Back To Top