The Town of Paradise was recently awarded the esteemed 2022 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence in Planning and Environmental Quality from The League of California Cities.
This award was given for work on the Long Term Community Recovery Plan, a community-created plan developed by residents of the Ridge to guide Paradise through the next several years of regrowth.
This plan identified 39 recovery projects to help Paradise move forward after the most destructive fire in California history, the 2018 Camp Fire. With recovery estimated to last at least a decade, a strategic plan was vital to the successful restoration of homes, businesses, schools, water systems, parks, roads, and cultural heritage.
“We knew we needed a plan to help navigate the restoration of the Town,” said Colette Curtis, Recovery and Economic Development Director. “But we knew it would only be successful if it was created by, and for, the residents of the Town..”
The creation of the Long-Term Community Recovery Plan was informed by a robust public engagement process including a number of town meetings and workshops, designed to capture residents’ ideas, visions, and goals for the future of Paradise.
Since the adoption of the Long Term Recovery Plan in 2019, steady progress has been made on many of the projects to date, including the creation of a Building Resiliency Center to help residents rebuild their businesses and homes, the adoption of 10 building code changes to increase fire safety, and the implementation of a 21-siren Early Warning System throughout the town.
Established in 1982 by the League of California Cities, the Helen Putnam Award for Excellence is given annually and recognizes outstanding achievements by California’s 482 cities. The purpose of the Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program is to promote innovative solutions by city governments.
“It’s a proud day for Paradise,” said Curtis. “Together, we have been through so much, and it’s a testament to our Town that we’ve come so far in recovery.”
Nearly four years post-fire, there are 1,573 homes rebuilt, 354 multi-family units rebuilt, over 350 businesses opened or reopened, and a population of nearly 7,500 people.
The 2022 Helen Putnam winners, recognized for their outstanding programs, were chosen from 155 submissions. There are 12 award categories, including Intergovernmental Collaboration; Community Services and Economic Development; Economic Development Through the Arts; Enhancing Public Trust, Ethics, and Community Involvement; Health and Wellness Programs; Housing Programs and Innovations; Internal Administration; League Partners Award for Excellence in City-Business Relations; Planning and Environmental Quality; Public Safety; Public Works, Infrastructure, and Transportation; and the Ruth Vreeland Award for Engaging Youth in City Government.
Watch this video to learn more about the award.