The Scenic City Certification Program is a project of Scenic Texas. Scenic Texas has identified a direct correlation between the success of a city’s economic development efforts and the visual appearance of its public spaces. In recognition of this link, Scenic Texas has developed the Scenic City Certification Program to support and recognize municipalities that implement high-quality scenic standards for public roadways and public spaces. The program will recognize Texas cities which already have strong scenic standards and will provide an incentive to others to adopt and implement the kind of stringent criteria that has been proven to enhance economic development, improve quality of life and foster a sense of place.
Earning certification will be very straightforward. A city should not apply unless it already has 1) a strictly regulated and enforced sign code, 2) a ban on new billboards, and 3) a landscaping and tree planting program. Certification points are awarded for these required elements. Then, under the application scoring system, an applicant city builds additional points toward certification with the goal of earning Recognized, Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum Certification. These are earned by showing evidence of existing municipal ordinances, rules, regulations and programs that evidence a city’s awareness and commitment to quality-of-life development.
The Scenic City application contains 71 possible criteria that earn points, including a high percentage of park and open space, implementation of multi-use trails and recreation areas, strong litter enforcement laws, street lighting standards, parking lot landscaping, utility line management, a budget that supports these programs and their ongoing maintenance, and more. Every applicant city will also be invited to describe other programs that fall outside the list of criteria but could be considered in the evaluation process (examples might include: historic preservation programs, beach/lake/river cleanups, retention basins, a scenic program related to a unique geographic feature).
The Scenic City Certification Program can play a vital role in giving voice to the proposition that all citizens of any city are entitled to a green, uncluttered, visually appealing place to live, work and play – a truly Scenic City.