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Awards and Recognition

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Most Digital County Government
Center for Digital Government and National Association of Counties – 2013
Howard County Government has been ranked in the Top 10 in the nation when it comes to embracing technology to improve service to residents and spur innovation. The ranking is based on the 2013 Digital Counties Survey conducted by the Center for Digital Government and the National Association of Counties. Howard County ranked 8th in counties with populations of 250,000 to 499,999, with the survey measuring online service delivery, infrastructure, architecture, security, transparency, citizen engagement and governance models.

 


We Can! Community 

National Institutes of Health and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute – 2013  
Howard County was named a “We Can!” Community by the National Institutes of Health and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children's Activity & Nutrition) is a national movement designed to give parents, caregivers and entire communities a way to help children 8 to 13 years old stay at a healthy weight. 

 


Smart Growth Community
Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission – 2013
Howard County received the first ever Smart Growth Community Award from the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission (MSGC) for the planning achievements and revitalization opportunities found in the Downtown Columbia Plan. The Plan is a 30-year master plan for evolving and renovating Columbia’s Town Center and was one of two public projects acknowledged. The MSGC recognized the Plan for achievements in all of its “twelve visions” – quality of life and sustainability, public participation, growth areas, community design, infrastructure, transportation, housing, economic development, environmental protection, resource conservation, stewardship and implementation.

 


Preserve America Community
U.S. Advisory Council on Historic Preservation - 2013
Howard County was designated one the latest Preserve America Communities by the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) and confirmed with a letter and certificate by First Lady Michelle Obama. Howard County is among 16 communities in Maryland with Preserve America recognition and 887 communities nationally.

 


Library of the Year
Library Journal and Gale Cengage Learning – 2013
The Howard County Library System (HCLS) was named the 2013 Library of the Year by the Library Journal and Gale Cengage Learning. HCLS was singled out from among 21,000 public and academic libraries in the United States, Canada and Mexico, and recognized as a key component of the educational system in the county, ensuring that every child who enrolls in the county’s top-ranked schools is also issued a library card.

 


Best Park/Playground
Maryland Family Magazine – 2012
Howard County’s Centennial Park was named “Best Park/Playground” by Maryland Family Magazine’s Readers Choice Awards. The 337-acre park features four playgrounds, nine picnic pavilions, a Park Ranger Station and a spectacular 54-acre, man-made lake stocked by the State Department of Fisheries. Additionally, the County’s Meadowbrook Park received an honorable mention.


Healthiest Maryland County
University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – 2012
Howard County was ranked the healthiest county in Maryland by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute for the third year in a row. All Maryland counties were ranked on health outcomes and a series of health determinants (including, but not limited to, tobacco use, diet and exercise, access to and quality of care, education, employment and income, and air quality).


Heart Safe Community of the Year

International Association of Fire Chiefs and Physio-Control, Inc. – 2012
Howard County’s Department of Fire and Rescue Services was selected as the 2012 Heart Safe Community of the Year. This prestigious award recognizes fire-service-based emergency medical service organizations that have used creative approaches to implement or maintain public access defibrillation programs within the communities they serve


Best Place to Live

CNN/Money Magazine - Ellicott City/Columbia – 2012
Ellicott City/Columbia together ranked #8 on CNN/Money Magazine's annual ranking of "Best Places to Live in America." The magazine sited a diverse population, reasonable housing costs, terrific schools, miles of hiking trails, and a new development, Blandair Park, which will include 200 acres of forest, wetlands, meadows, and a historic farm complex as key factors in their selection process.


Tree City Community

Arbor Day Foundation – 2012
Howard County was named a Tree City Community for the 22nd year in a row for its ongoing commitment to urban forestry. The County has placed a major emphasis on tree plantings in the last six years. During this time, well over 50,000 trees were planted through a variety of County programs. These programs include efforts to improve stream buffers, conserve forests, educate residents, and maintain the County’s award-winning park system.


Most Digital County Government

Center for Digital Government and National Association of Counties – 2011
Howard County Government was recently ranked the ninth most digital county in the nation by the Center for Digital Government and National Association of Counties (NACo). All U.S. county governments are invited to participate in the annual Digital Counties Survey which is used to benchmark excellence and innovation in local government’s use of technology. Participating counties are ranked based on how comprehensive and innovative their IT programs are in support of local government operations, especially during economically challenging times.


Best Workplaces for Commuters

National Center for Transit Research at the University of South Florida – 2011
Howard County Government was recognized as one of the Best Workplaces for Commuters by the National Center for Transit Research for its commuter and environmental friendly policies, including the rideshare program, Howard Commuter Solutions, as well as LEED silver modifications made to the Howard County Government campus in Ellicott City. Howard County Government is one of only two local governments in Maryland to have earned the national designation.


Best Place to Live

Money Magazine - Ellicott City/Columbia - 2010
Ellicott City/Columbia together ranked #2 on Money Magazine’s list of “Best Places to Live in America.” The magazine looked at communities with populations between 50,000 and 300,000 and ranked them based on quality of schools, fiscal strength, public safety, employment opportunities, housing, parks, diversity and community spirit.


Healthiest Maryland County

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute - 2010
Howard County was ranked the healthiest county in Maryland by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. All Maryland counties were ranked on health outcomes and a series of health determinants (including, but not limited to, tobacco use, diet and exercise, access to and quality of care, education, employment and income, and air quality). Howard County was ranked the healthiest place to live in both Health Outcomes and Health Determinants categories.


Best American Values

Newsmax Magazine - 2009
Ellicott City in Howard County ranked 17th place in Newsmax Magazine's annual list of "Top 25 Cities with the “Best American Values." The magazine commissioned Peter Greenberg, best-selling author and travel editor of NBC’s Today Show, to compile a list of the nation’s most “uniquely American communities.” Greenberg looked for cities that embody America’s core values and based his ranking on nine different categories including hospitality, culture, scenic beauty and business friendliness.


Best Place to Live for Pet Lovers

U.S. News & World Report - 2009
Ellicott City was voted one of the top ten places in U.S. News & World Report's annual ranking of "Best Places to Live for Pet Lovers," the only community in Maryland to receive this honor. The magazine focused on weather, population density, and the availability of green space. Pet experts were also interviewed on the most animal-friendly towns and Ellicott City was selected because of its ideal location – “an easy drive from Baltimore’s animal shelters and also offers more than 100 square miles of green space within 15 miles of the city.”


Best Place to Live

Money Magazine - Ellicott City/Columbia - 2008
Ellicott City and Columbia together ranked 8th place in Money Magazine's annual ranking of "Best Places to Live," the only county in Maryland to receive this honor. The magazine sited plentiful jobs, excellent schools, and affordable housing as key factors in their selection process.


Best Place to Raise a Family

Forbes Magazine - 2008
Howard County was ranked 17th in the nation by Forbes Magazine in their survey of "Best Places to Raise a Family,” and again the only county in Maryland to receive this honor. According to the Forbes' survey: "Howard County is one of the smartest counties in the country. Its average SAT score of 1,113 trails only Marin County, Calif., on our list, and Howard's public library system holds the top spot in Hennen's American Public Library Ratings."


Great Public Library Systems

Hennen's American Public Library Ratings - 2005 and 2008
Howard County was ranked 1st in the nation among great public libraries, based on an index of 15 factors including circulation, visits, staffing, materials, reference service, and funding levels.


Most Digital County Government

Center for Digital Government - 2007
Howard County Government ranked 3rd in the nation when it comes to counties using information technology in increasingly innovative ways and improving service to their citizens. The ranking is based on the 2007 Digital Counties Survey conducted by e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government and the National Association of Counties (NACo). Howard County was compared to other counties of similar size with populations in the 250,000 to 499,999 range.


Public Leadership in the Arts

Americans for the Arts - 2007
Howard County Government was awarded this honor for leadership and dedication to supporting the arts in the community and incorporating culture into the county’s economic development plan. The award was presented by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America, in conjunction with the National Association of Counties (NACo).


Best Place to Live

Money Magazine - Ellicott City/Columbia - 2006
Ellicott City and Columbia together ranked 4th place in Money Magazine's annual "Best Places to Live" survey. The magazine looked for small livable cities that had the best possible blend of good jobs, low crime, quality schools, plenty of open space, rational home prices and lots to do.


Technologically Advanced Community

USA Today - 2006
Howard County was ranked the 2nd most technologically advanced community in the United States.


Good Sports Community of the Year

Sports Illustrated- 2006 

 

 

In partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association, Sports Illustrated chose Howard County as one of only eight communities nationwide to receive this award based on it's ability to promote values such as sportsmanship, fair play, skill development, helpful parent involvement and positive coaching methods.  



100 Best Communities for Young People

America's Promise Alliance - 2005
This annual competition which recognizes outstanding community-wide efforts that improve the well-being of youth. Winning communities are chosen because they found innovative ways to solve problems that will improve the lives of children and young people, and demonstrated a willingness to work together within their communities to make a difference.


Best Quality of Life

American City Business Journals - Top 20 Counties in the U.S. - 2004
Howard County was ranked 9th out of 3,141 counties and independent cities across the nation, based on 20 statistical categories that included job opportunities, racial diversity, low unemployment, median income, and education.


Best Educated (Adults over 25)

U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey - 2004
Advanced Degree (28%) ranked 2nd in nation
Bachelor's Degree (56%) ranked 4th in the nation


Maryland "Sports Town"

Sports Illustrated - 2003
As part of Sports Illustrated's 50th anniversary issue, Howard County was named Maryland's "Sports Town," based on a variety of criteria demonstrating the community's involvement in facilitating and enhancing quality sports. Categories included youth development strategies, innovations for community development, and the commitment to parks and recreation resources.


All-America City Award

National Civic League - Winning Community - 2001
The oldest and most respected community recognition program in the nation, the All-America City Award recognizes communities whose citizens work together to identify and tackle community-wide challenges and achieve uncommon results, exemplifying the true American spirit at work.