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. The GCAA 2020 application is officially open. Review the application and apply at ktb.org/gcaa.
Category 10: Brownsville
Landscape Award: $310,000
Settled on the southernmost tip of Texas, on the border and by the sea, Brownsville is the 16th most populous city in Texas with a population of 183,686. Founded in 1848 after the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Brownsville was home to the first battle of the Mexican-American War, the last battle of the American Civil War and played an important role in other historical conflicts. Though the city is challenged by poverty and health disparities, it is resilient and has become an economic hub for agriculture, ecotourism and development of commercial space exploration.
The city of Brownsville supports community improvement projects with help from a full-time staff position, the Parks and Recreation Department, and Keep Brownsville Beautiful (KBB) and their Youth Advisory Board. The city funds and leverages grants, develops plans and manages a variety of projects that have a positive impact on the economic development and prosperity of the community.
“The community of Brownsville is proud to receive this award because we take pride in our community, and we work as a family,” says Eli De Leon of KBB. The city of Brownsville and KBB encourage community engagement by educating residents on the importance of litter prevention, beautification and recycling. Keep Brownsville Beautiful hosted events like Brownsville Recycles Day, Earth Day Fest and the Arbor Day Tree-Planting Ceremony. Combined, these events provided 37,000 residents with waste-related data and recommended guidelines on beautification issues and best practices.
KBB spearheads most environmental education events in the city through their Youth Advisory Board. This board is comprised of passionate youth who participate in cleanups and events throughout the city, while encouraging peers to get involved. They help facilitate a campus challenge across Brownsville I.S.D. that encourages schools to recycle and track their efforts. Eli says that KBB’s events and projects have greatly contributed to the success of the community, and they could not have been executed without the help of the Youth Advisory Board.
In 2018, KBB hosted 26 community-driven beautification events including: seven community cleanups, five resaca cleanups, four park cleanups and two beach cleanups with five educational events and three recycling events. Through the efforts of 3,258 dedicated volunteers, who together contributed 25,240 hours of service, 43,850 pounds of waste and 19,387 pounds of recyclable material were collected from 118 miles of roadway and 19 acres throughout Brownsville. Eli De Leon believes that it is a great honor for Brownsville to receive the GCAA because the dedication of residents within the community has paid off and the award will motivate them for generations to come.
To learn more about our GCAA winner go to ktb.org/GCAA