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 4: Henderson
Landscape Award: $160,000
Henderson is a small, rural town in the Piney Woods of northeast Texas. Founded in 1843 during the days of the Republic of Texas, Henderson is one of the oldest towns in Texas. It was named after the first governor of Texas, James Pinckney Henderson. An agricultural center for decades, Henderson became a hub of activity in 1930 when the great East Texas Oil Field was discovered just west of town.
With a population of 13,428, the City of Henderson employees wish to continually provide the best for its citizens.
This promise to citizens is evident through the city's involvement in community improvement projects that have made Henderson a better place to live. Keep Henderson Beautiful (KHB) is an entirely volunteer-led organization that, with help from the city of Henderson and local organizations, has made a huge impact on the community. For example, KHB coordinates maintenance on TxDOT right-of-way flowerbeds, four city parks and the historic downtown area. These efforts alone required approximately 500 volunteer hours.
Community volunteers are a vital part of KHB's success. Last year, during the Don't mess with Texas Trash-Off, volunteers committed a total of 848 hours and picked up 82,080 pounds of trash, 5,500 pounds of recyclables, 300 pounds of electronics, 450 pounds of clothing and 80 tires. KHB also relies heavily on partnerships with local organizations. On Arbor Day, KHB, the Forest Service, 12 Boy Scouts and eight Girl Scouts planted 40 hardwood trees and 100 pine seedlings at Lake Forest Park.
With these community improvement efforts comes educational outreach to prevent litter and encourage citizens to get involved. KHB regularly presents educational forums to the Rusk County community. The Henderson school system also includes curricula on recycling, elements of growing food, and horticulture techniques. Ultimately, these city-wide community improvement efforts have made Henderson a better place to live, work and play.
Learn more about our GCAA winners at ktb.org/gcaa