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 2020, we'll be featuring all ten of our 2019 GCAA recipients over the next few months on our blog. Stay tuned to learn about our other winning communities!
Category 3: Whitehouse
Landscape Award: $130,000
With a population of 8,371, Whitehouse is a community with small-town charm and an eye on the future. Established in 1845, the International-Great Northern Railroad would make it possible to ship produce to the town by the 1870s. The first post office was established in 1873 and the community was incorporated on March 16, 1953. Today, Whitehouse is a vibrant, growing community, featuring superior city services, excellent schools and numerous recreational opportunities.
Citizens of Whitehouse take pride in their city and work hard to enhance it. "Teamwork is what we feel sets our community apart from others," says Daryl Lynch of Keep Whitehouse Beautiful (KWB). The City of Whitehouse, Chamber of Commerce, Whitehouse I.S.D. and community members work hand-in-hand to educate, engage and improve the city. KWB plays a huge role in community improvement. With no paid staff, KWB relies entirely on volunteers to make an impact on their growing city. Last year, KWB volunteers dedicated more than 1,154 hours to community projects for litter prevention and beautification. Their latest program, Fall Sweep, consisted of eight total cleanup events and attracted 117 volunteers.
Teamwork and pride are evident in each community improvement initiative. In 2018, the City of Whitehouse, Parks Committee and Keep Whitehouse Beautiful joined together to develop a mountain bike, hiking and nature trail at Black Hawk Creek. This multi-year project will include a five-mile paved trail, beautification projects, trash bins and more. Whitehouse also led educational initiatives in partnership with Whitehouse I.S.D., invited community members and local businesses to get involved in Adopt-a-Highway and the Don't mess with Texas Trash-Off, and presented ten businesses with Outstanding Yard Awards.
Winning the Governor's Community Achievement Award has a tremendous impact on the city. Once the project is completed, "our citizens will see firsthand what a shared volunteer commitment can accomplish," says Lynch. She says it will continue to inspire and motivate many community members who had a hand in winning this award.
Learn more about our GCAA winners at ktb.org/gcaa