After being named a finalist in the National Civic League's All-America City competition, Mount Pleasant will continue its pursuit of the designation by sending a delegation to Kansas City in June. One area they have emphasized is recreation and parks, in

Wade Spees

MOUNT PLEASANT -- The town will send a delegation to Kansas City, Mo., in June to compete with 26 other municipalities for the title of All-America City.

"Being named a finalist in this very prominent competition is quite an honor for the town of Mount Pleasant," Mayor Billy Swails said.

In Kansas City, the town will be represented by a group including Swails, Town Administrator Mac Burdette and Deputy Town Administrator Eric DeMoura.

"These things are very elaborate. It's almost a performance. It's very prestigious to even make the finals," Burdette said.

The Wando Chorus and others also will go to

Kansas City to help tell the town's story.

Mount Pleasant is the only South Carolina city represented in this year's competition. Ten winners will be picked. Other finalists include Des Moines, Iowa, Salisbury, Md., and El Paso, Texas. The National Civic League bestows the honor, which Charleston has received in years past. It is designated by red, white and blue signs that look like a flag and declare that a burg is an "All-America City."

DeMoura said this is the first time the town has applied to be an All-America City. "It's a big deal. It's one of the most prestigious awards," he said. Being designated an All-America City can be used as a marketing tool, he said. The town has been meeting with Boeing contractors to convince them to live and work there.

Mount Pleasant was picked as a finalist for the 61st All-America City Awards based on its written application. "Since 2000, the Town of Mount Pleasant has grown by 58 percent to become the fourth-largest municipality in the State of South Carolina and a beacon of civic engagement, inclusiveness, innovation and impact," the application states.

The town's 10-minute offering to the judges in June will be based on its 14-page application. It will highlight efforts such as improvements to Johnnie Dodds Boulevard, the Coleman Boulevard revitalization, efforts to provide affordable housing and its cooperative relationship with the Charleston County School District.

Town officials characterized the presentation as a live event like a play or performance. Afterwards, the judges will ask questions of town officials for 10 minutes.

A group of about 25 people will represent the town in Kansas City. The cost of the travel will be paid out of the mayor's salary and through fundraising. No general fund money will be used. Swails previously designated his salary to be used for economic development purposes.