United States Department of Agriculture-Rural Development and Rural Enterprises of Oklahoma Inc. (REI) have named the City of Miami as one of four finalists for their 2008 Partnership Award.

The award honors an Oklahoma community for success and innovations in increasing economic opportunities and enhancing the quality of life for community residents.

Miami will receive recognition at the 2008 Oklahoma Community Institute's celebration dinner to be held March 25 in Midwest City. The winner of the state award will be announced that night.

Being one of four finalists for this state award is a tremendous honor for our city, Miami Mayor Brent Brassfield said.

To be considered for an award such as this brings to light how the effective, hard work done by city administration and staff is continually improving the quality of life for our citizens.

I would be remiss to not recognize Economic Development Director Brian Barger, Community Development Director Larry Eller and Acting Public Works Director Jill Fitzgibbon for their vision and tenacity, Brassfield added. Although we hope to win the award, to simply be recognized confirms we are moving the community forward in a positive manner.

The City of Miami is being recognized for innovation in:

Developing a partnership with the Miami Tribe for a new downtown five-screen movie theatre to replace the community's previous theatre that was destroyed by flooding.

Working with USDA-Rural Development and Boatfloater Industries to relocate the manufacturing facility out of the floodplain. City workers helped move the company out of the floodplain within minutes of the devastating flood of July 3, 2007.

Developing a program to provide 20 new affordable homes, with priority for flood victims living in FEMA trailers who lost their homes in the July 2007 flood.

Developing a $2 million downtown revitalization program to provide new antique streetlights and landscaping in downtown Miami.

Further enhancing the Coleman Theatre by developing a $1 million project for a new convention center downtown.

Securing funds for a $400,000 housing rehabilitation program to rehabilitate 40 homes owned by income-qualifying families.

Developing a three-state regional cooperative marketing effort with neighboring communities to market Route 66 on a regional basis.

Securing a $120,000 grant to construct a Miami Gateway entrance sign to downtown, reconstructing the Ozark Trail milepost and providing historic signs to tell the Route 66 story.

Oklahoma Education Television Authority will be in town in March to develop a video depicting how the community has pulled together.