The National Civic League has announced that the City of Punta Gorda and the City of Wilton Manors have been named finalists for the All-America City Award.

This year’s primary focus was on efforts to strengthen democracy through local action and innovation. Submissions were judged on the strength of their civic capital, demonstrated by three community-driven projects or programs that have adapted and transformed the community.

“This All-American City accolade presents a remarkable opportunity to shine a national spotlight on Punta Gorda’s achievements,” said City Manager Greg Murray. “We will continue to work to preserve our small-town character while promoting diversity, economic development and sustainability.”

One of Punta Gorda’s highlighted achievements is the Plan Punta Gorda Citywide Master Plan process.

The City, alongside Team Punta Gorda, hosted “Punta Gorda: Journey to the Future.” This event aimed to inform and equip participants to contribute effectively to the new Citywide Master Plan. Emphasizing inclusivity, the event planning team ensured representation from various community groups. Over 700 community members participated. This inclusive approach led to the accomplishment of the first priority: revising the City’s comprehensive plan and land development regulations to promote infill development and diverse, affordable housing types.

Another focal point is the Citizens Academy. The Academy is an inside look at government operations that increases transparency and leads to a deeper understanding of the operations of departments. Finally, the transformation of Veterans Park has been a collaborative effort that most consider a labor of love. The beautiful experiential site of remembrance and tribute has emerged as a premier destination for visitors.


Wilton Manors’ submission highlighted a three-pronged approach to strengthening the community via three projects, including the Wilton Manors Police Department’s Safe Place Program, the City’s Sustainability Program and the transformation of Wilton Drive, the heart of the City’s entertainment and art district. Each initiative leaned heavily on soliciting community feedback, providing public outreach and building meaningful relationships between residents and City staff.

“As a city representing the LGBTQ+ community, a traditionally underserved population, it would not be what it is today without the input and feedback from all our community members, including the four neighborhood associations representing different areas of the City,” said Mayor Scott Newton. “We are extremely grateful to have been selected as a finalist in this year’s awards, as it attests to our commitment to fostering an inclusive and welcoming Island City for all who live, work and play here.”

The finalists will compete in June for the title of All-America City. For more information about the award, click here.