Each year, the Governor’s Community Achievement Awards (GCAA) celebrate ten Texas communities for their outstanding efforts to keep their communities beautiful. From the Texas coast to the Panhandle, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has awarded cities with this honor since 1986. Winners are selected for their ability to engage citizens, local businesses, schools, and other organizations in environmental improvement initiatives. Categorized by population, these ten cities share an award of $2 million in landscaping projects. Keep Texas Beautiful (KTB) and TxDOT have worked together to administer the GCAA for more than 30 years.
As we gear up for GCAA 2019, we’ll be featuring all ten of our 2018 GCAA recipients over the next few months on our blog. To help you prepare for the 2019 application, we’re offering a number of new resources, including our affiliate Forum and upcoming webinar on January 17. Register for our webinar, engage in our forum and stay tuned to learn about our other winning communities on our blog!
Category 5: Katy
Landscape Award: $180,000
Katy began in 1895 as wide-open prairie and was founded along the MKT railroad tracks, creating the name of the city. Thirty miles west of Houston, the land and location attracted farmers and oil and gas companies. Old-town heritage is still alive, but every day new ideas, businesses, cultures and families are growing and thriving. With an estimated population of 15,949, Katy is a place where small-town charm and big-city convenience perfectly co-exist.
In 2017, volunteers invested over 63,206 hours, a value of $1,522,042, into improving Katy and the environment. More than 20 public spaces were cleaned or improved, over 75,000 students were educated on environmental issues and 61,950 gallons of water were saved due to paper recycling.
Keep Katy Beautiful (KKB) was established by the city board in 1993 and has since grown to become an integral part of the Katy community.
The Affiliate Coordinator of KKB and Tourism of Marketing Assistant of Katy, Jess Washburn, attributes the success of the organization to support of the City of Katy. “KKB’s passion for the last 25 years has made such a tremendous impact, and it’s all about the people. City officials, board members, volunteers, residents and businesses are all committed to the betterment of our city. We believe our community spirit truly sets us apart.”
KKB’s signature programs include the development of a 90-acre boardwalk and lake park in partnership with the city, tree planting, recycling events, Adopt-a-Highway, Waste in Place, Don’t mess with Texas® Trash-Off, e-Cycling/shredding/trash events, educational opportunities and more.
The heart of Katy was evident during Hurricane Harvey when local churches and schools opened their doors to house, feed and care for the National Guard and Texas DPS. The Katy High School library served as the National Guard command post for rescue and aid missions from Corpus Christi to Louisiana. Days after the storm, volunteers worked tirelessly to clean up the 687 homes and businesses affected, collecting 24,928 cubic yards of debris.
With this year’s Governor’s Community Achievement Award Washburn says that “the City of Katy is eager to begin work on another exciting landscaping project to further enhance our beautiful city.”