Houston took first place in its population category Monday night at the Missouri Community Betterment conference in Columbia. It’s the fifth time the town has won the top prize since 2004.
Houston competed in category III. Other winners were: Albany, second; Steelville, third; and Bourbon, fourth. The only other winner from south-central Missouri was Salem with second in category IV.
Houston’s youth group took second place in its population category. Taylor Bryson of Houston was one of four people honored with a Youth Leadership Award. An Adult Leadership Award went to Wilda McNiell of Houston, one of four receiving recognition. MaKayla Koch is president of the Missouri Community Betterment Youth Ambassadors.
“The Missouri Community Betterment board congratulates all the volunteers from our communities all throughout the state,” MCB President Brett Dinkins said. “These dedicated individuals and their collaborative community and economic development efforts continue to make Missouri’s rural communities a place people want to call home.”
Judges visited in September in Houston to review projects completed in 2014.
Several gave presentations:
•Houston Visioning 2014 on a plan with Drury University to develop the town’s future, Elaine Campbell.
•Melba Theatre and Lone Star Annex on more than $500,000 raised for the improvements, Brad Gentry.
•Texas County Justice Center high tunnel, Verlin Altom.
•Houston Farmers Market expansion, shades for a Lone Star Plaza awning and creation of a commercial kitchen at the new Lone Star Plaza Annex, Campbell. Completion is slated for next month.
•Mayor’s walking challenge that promoted healthy lifestyles, Don Tottingham.
•Community Betterment YOUTH community garden, Amber Lange.
•YOUTH community yard sale, Lange.
Last year, Houston took fourth in the contest. The youth group won second.