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Buena Park : City Fails in Quest for ‘All-American’ Citation

For the fourth time since 1979, Buena Park failed to be named an “All-American City” by the Citizens Forum on Self-Government National Municipal League, who announced the winners of its 1985-86 contest Friday.

Mayor Lester Reese expressed disappointment that Buena Park, one of 20 finalists, was not among the nine winners but said being a finalist was an honor in itself.

The contest judged cities on the participation of residents in solving city problems. The winners were Grants Pass, Ore.; the Normal Heights area of San Diego; Mililani Town, Hawaii; Highland Park, Ill.; Brooklyn Center, Minn.; Lynchburg, Va.; Kansas City, Mo.; Jackson, Mich., and Cleveland, Ohio, the first city to win three times in five years.

“These are communities where people are willing to roll up their sleeves and work together,” said John Parr, a spokesman for the league.

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Reese said the importance of the contest, co-sponsored by USA Today, is to recognize residents who are working to improve the city. “It’s not an award awarded to the city per se but to the people in the community.”

Kevin O’Rourke, city manager, said this year is the first time out of five attempts that Buena Park had been named a finalist.

“We are winners,” he said. “The city got some national acknowledgement for the programs here.”

In its application, the city cited its Adopt-a-School program, Senior Center Fund-Raising Committee and Child Abuse Prevention Center as accomplishments deserving recognition.

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O’Rourke said the city spent $5,000 in donations and at least that much of its own money on the contest. Most of the money was spent on the presentation finalists were required to make before contest judges in Cincinnati last November.


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