Richard Greene

Latest ranking as well-run city shows why Arlington should land Medal of Honor Museum

Recognition once again as the best run city in Texas could not have come at a better time for Arlington.

That’s because the city has been named a finalist, along with Denver, for the future location of the National Medal of Honor Museum.

It’s one thing for city leaders to advance all the reasons why Arlington would be the best place for the museum but when independent national organizations confirm the qualities that makes the city the choice location, it’s a boost that decision makers must acknowledge.

That’s precisely what has happened. In addition to WalletHub’s announcement, which came at the first of this month, just days later the International City/County Management Association awarded the city its Certificate of Achievement in Performance Management.

In April, as I wrote then, Arlington became the first city in Texas to achieve Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities certification.

Here’s how WalletHub explained the criteria that again put Arlington in the national spotlight: “WalletHub compared the operating efficiency of 150 of the largest U. S. cities to reveal which among them are managed best.”

The financial services website constructed a “Quality of Services” score made up of 37 metrics grouped into six service categories. Those were measured against the city’s per-capita budget.

Nationally Arlington ranked 27th, while Denver came it at 117th among all cities. Looking at the North Texas region as a whole, it’s noteworthy that both Fort Worth and Dallas also finished well ahead of the Colorado city.

The six categories WalletHub focused on in making its determinations were financial stability, education, health, safety, economy and infrastructure/pollution.

Of particular importance to Medal of Honor Museum officials are economic factors. They see a strong local economy as essential for the financial support they need to develop and operate their facility.

WalletHub’s economy category included evaluations of the unemployment rate, household income, growth in the number of businesses, home values, job growth rates, and median annual income growth rates.

As an independent confirmation of the use of data in describing the characteristics and capacities of cities, the Bloomberg certification program describes itself as “the first-of-its-kind national standard of excellence in city governance that evaluates how well cities are managed and whether cities have the right people, processes, and policies in place to put data and evidence at the center of decision-making.”

Conclusions such as Bloomberg’s about how Arlington represents itself adds credibility to the compelling evidence that the city’s burgeoning entertainment district is the perfect location for the Museum.

Arlington already welcomes about 15 million annual visitors. That number is destined to grow substantially with the addition of the new Live! By Loews Hotel that will open next month. Then comes Globe Life Field in April, certain to attract higher attendance in air-conditioned comfort for Rangers games and countless other events throughout the year.

Joe Daniels, CEO of the National Medal of Honor Museum told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that local leaders “did a tremendous job of demonstrating why (Arlington) would be the perfect place for this museum.”

Finally, there is the matter of Texas’ overall reputation as devoted to the essential values that the 3,522 Medal of Honor recipients have fought and died for to preserve and extend our nation’s freedom.

A decision for which of the finalist cities will be chosen is expected in September. Arlington’s good fortune of being in the national spotlight for its reputation as a quintessential can-do city makes it a persuasive choice.

Richard Greene is a former Arlington mayor, served as an appointee of President George W. Bush as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency and lectures at UT Arlington.
Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram