Each year, the Governor’s Community Achievement Awards (GCAA) celebrate ten Texas communities for their achievements in litter prevention, beautification, public awareness, and other focus areas. Categorized by population, these ten cities share a prize of $2 million in landscaping projects.
The city of Murphy, like many North Texas communities, has experienced rapid growth over the last two decades. The key to success, according Murphy’s Customer Service Manager Candy McQuiston, is being a good neighbor. “We partner with many of the larger cities nearby, such as Allen, Frisco, McKinney and Prosper,” said McQuiston. Winning the Governor’s Community Achievement Award (GCAA) provides officials in Murphy an opportunity to connect with even more cities, as the award brings increased exposure and recognition to this burgeoning community.
Once a sparsely-populated rural town, Murphy is now home to 17,708 residents and its growth shows no sign of slowing. In addition to strengthening partnerships with other cities, the GCAA raises awareness of volunteer opportunities to Murphy’s new residents. In 2016, the city recruited 850 regular volunteers, who attended orientations, meetings, trainings and events throughout the year. In addition to this dedicated group, more than 1,000 one-time volunteers attended Murphy’s signature Clean & Green event and collected more than 86,000 pounds of trash and recyclables.
Murphy maintains an active public outreach effort that includes local newspapers, regular updates through the city and a strong social media presence, which support community coordination and bring public awareness to projects taking place. Environmental education programs have been established in all six local schools to encourage young people to get involved in community events. “Working with Keep Texas Beautiful and TxDOT has been wonderful,” McQuiston said. “We receive excellent guidance and educational opportunities.” By relying on local and state partners, bonding with neighboring cities and connecting to important resources, the city of Murphy has nurtured a spirit of cooperation and community engagement that will last for decades.