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Posted on: June 23, 2021

Loudoun Wins National Achievement Awards for Innovation

Image of NACO Achievement Award-2021

Loudoun County has been recognized with nine 2021 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs. Loudoun’s award-winning programs, which include several that came out of the COVID-19 pandemic, are: 

COLLAB Residency
Loudoun County Public Library (LCPL) has collaborated with the Loudoun Arts Council on COLLAB Residency, an artist-in-residency program in which artists are in residence for several months at a LCPL branch location. Artists are encouraged to use the residency to explore ideas, take risks and solve problems. Because they are working in an open library, artists can engage with the public about their process and ideas. Library patrons can watch the artistic process in action and may also work with the artist on a project or create their own. 

Gwen Thompson Briar Patch Park Project
The enhancement and redevelopment project at Gwen Thompson Briar Patch Park included redesigning the playground with shade structures and new rubber flooring; improving trail access; upgrading the tennis court to include pickleball; installing bridge replacements and retaining walls. The project also featured the first outdoor fitness court for a Loudoun Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services facility. The court provides outdoor exercise for all ages and abilities and is designed to engage the entire body with seven zones that accommodate everyone from beginners to experts. 

Intersection Crash Reduction
In 2020, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) created a traffic safety initiative to reduce the number of crashes at intersections within the county. The central focus was to increase traffic safety and educate residents about the dangers of distracted driving and other behaviors that can lead to accidents. As a result, LCSO reported a 50% drop in the number of crashes at the 12 most crash-prone intersections in the county and a 35% drop in total crashes in the county. The program included a partnership with the Virginia State Police and the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Online Summer Reading
As many government agencies did during the COVID-19 pandemic, Loudoun County Public Library (LCPL) reimagined and reinvented one of its most popular programs: the Summer Reading Program. Once it was clear that the traditional in-person format was not going to work for the 2020 program, LCPL quickly turned to an online format, attracting more than 7,000 registrants for the Summer Reading Challenge and more than 10,000 individual program attendees.

PPE Production Initiative
During the spring of 2020, Loudoun County Public Library used its 3D printers and other makerspace equipment to manufacture thousands of pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to help aid the county’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The PPE, including face shields, ear savers and hand sanitizer station keys, was sent to the Loudoun County Emergency Operations Center, which distributed it among first responders, health care providers, and other organizations that requested PPE from the Loudoun County government. 

Prescription Delivery Program
To help seniors and medically challenged residents who are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office created a no-cost prescription pick-up and delivery assistance program. Interested residents contacted the Sheriff’s Office to request the service and notify their pharmacy that a uniformed Sheriff's deputy would pick up the prescription. The deputy delivered the medication, allowing the residents to stay home and stay safe. 

Remote Court Hearings Program
While most court proceedings were suspended after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, criminal case proceedings and certain emergency civil proceedings needed to proceed. The Loudoun Clerk of the Circuit Court, in collaboration with the Loudoun County Department of Information Technology, created and implemented a virtual court protocol so that no one involved in the proceedings needed to be physically present at the courthouse. A key factor in the success of the program was the previous conversion by the Clerk’s office of all court records to a digital format and providing remote access to the digitized court files to attorneys and judges. 

Remote Services Program
When the COVID-19 pandemic limited the volume of visitors to the Loudoun County Courthouse, the Loudoun Clerk of the Circuit Court implemented virtual customer service programs to ensure continuity of operations during the pandemic. The services included verification of identification, legal document preparation, online payment and issuance of legal documents. The remote service has been successful and will likely continue after the pandemic and possibly expand. The Clerk’s office collaborated with the Loudoun County Department of Information Technology to implement the program.

Serving Seniors Through a Pandemic
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic left many people feeling isolated, including the senior citizens who utilize the Outreach Services program of the Loudoun County Public Library (LCPL). Outreach Services takes library materials to people whose circumstances prevent them from visiting the library, including senior center patrons, as well as residents of independent and assisted-living facilities and nursing homes. In recognition of the isolation experienced by seniors, the Outreach Services program created a plan to fill the gap in the availability of services created by the pandemic lockdown, ensuring access to library materials to all seniors.

More information about the National Association of Counties and the NACo Achievement Award Program is online at www.naco.org.

More information about Loudoun County government’s award-winning programs is online at loudoun.gov/awards.

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