Knoxville named a finalist in Mayors Challenge competition

Knoxville named a finalist in Mayors Challenge competition

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Mayor Madeline Rogero announced Monday that Knoxville has been selected as a finalist for the Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Challenge.

The idea behind the competition was to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life.

The ideas must also be applicable in other cities across the nation.

The City of Knoxville was selected based on its idea to create an urban food corridor.

The idea was selected after input from citizens and a committee to create a unique business model that encompasses the entire urban food cycle by connecting land, farming jobs, processing facilities, food transit, sale, and composting.  

The plan will provide employment and economic development opportunities, and link three key components.

First, the project would re-purpose vacant lots for food production. It would also partner with existing facilities to establish certified kitchens used to process food.

And it would establish a legal mechanism to enable a business model of food distribution to those in need and produce sale to local establishments.

The full plan and application is available on the City of Knoxville's website.

Knoxville will now compete against 19 other cities across the country for the $5 million grand prize as well as one of four additional prizes of $1 million each.

"This is exciting news for the City of Knoxville," said Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero. "Our proposal of a food corridor was not only innovative but also addressed key issues for our community and others. To be among the 20 finalists in the nation is both humbling and thrilling."

A team from Knoxville will attend a two-day gathering in New York City in November during which city teams will work collaboratively with each other and experts to further refine their ideas.

After the gathering, the team will have access to additional technical support to prepare their ideas for final submission.

The City of Knoxville began soliciting ideas for the challenge back in August.

The 20 finalist ideas were rated on four key criteria: vision/creativity, ability to implement, potential for impact, and potential for replication.

Mayors of U.S. cities with 30,000 residents or more were eligible to compete in the challenge.

305 cities representing 45 states across the country submitted applications.

Winners will be announced in Spring 2013.

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