Awards & Recognitions
The City of Kennesaw has achieved many noteworthy recognitions.
- SafeWise.com, a website offering home security and safety advice, has published its list of the 50 safest cities in Georgia. They reviewed the most recent FBI Crime Report statistics from 2015, along with population data, then narrowed it down based on the number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery) and property crimes (burglary, arson, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft) in each city. Kennesaw placed #13 and was best in Cobb County.
- Smith-Gilbert Gardens was again named Best Place to Spend the Day Outdoors by Cobb Life Magazine’s annual poll of readers. Cobb Life is a subsidiary of the Marietta Daily Journal.
- Smith-Gilbert Gardens was recognized with the 2016 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, reflecting the consistently great reviews which have been submitted to the world’s largest travel site.
- Personal finance website WalletHub which produces research reports and surveys ranking “best” and “worst” on varying topics, ranked the nation’s best small cities (the 1,268 cities with populations between 25,000 and 100,000) across five key dimensions: 1) Affordability, 2) Economic Health, 3) Education & Health, 4) Quality of Life and 5) Safety. Then overall scores were calculated based on the weighted average of 30 relevant metrics. Cities were grouped in percentiles, so a 90th percentile represents the top 10% percent of small cities in America. Kennesaw ranked in the 91st percentile and was the highest ranked small city in Georgia!
- WalletHub also recently crunched the data to determine which among 100 of the Georgia’s cities meet their criteria for “most conducive to family life.” Kennesaw was named 2016’s 15th Best Place to Raise a Family in Georgia and was the highest ranked city in Cobb County. Of particular note was the low unemployment rate, affordability of housing, and low crime rate.
- CreditDonkey analyzed crime trends for cities large and small across Georgia to find the ones where crime occurred least often. Using their methodology, Kennesaw was rated among the top 20 safest cities, cited for its exceptional reputation for safety and determination to control crime.
- The website BestPlacesNow.com, which names “the top ten everything, everywhere,” has recently chosen Kennesaw at the top of its list of best places to live in Georgia. The site touts Kennesaw’s extremely low crime rate, low unemployment, many local amenities, and a high quality of life rating.
- A ranking of the safest cities in Georgia from backgroundchecks.org has Kennesaw at number six. The ranking uses FBI violent crime statistics and other data according to the site, a public safety focused organization. Additionally, ValuePenguin team analyzed 99 cities with populations of more than 5,000 to determine the safest cities in Georgia. Kennesaw ranked fourth safest in the list of cities with populations over 25,000 and 12th overall. It was the only Cobb County city in the top 25.
- The website Zippia.com examined census data measuring the percentage of adults with at least a high school diploma and percentage of teenagers that are high school dropouts to determine the smartest places in Georgia. In a list of 127 cities in the state with a population of at least 5,000, Kennesaw was deemed to be the 4th Smartest City in Georgia.
- Website niche.com rates Kennesaw number eight in its Best Suburbs for Millennials in Atlanta metro list. Niche ranks suburban communities on the number of millennials, job opportunities, restaurants, access to bars, and affordable housing. A high ranking indicates that a suburb attracts millennials with an affordable, diverse community and lots of things to do.
- For the eighth year, Kennesaw was honored by the Arbor Day Foundation for being one of Georgia’s “Tree City USA” communities. More than 3,400 communities nationwide have made the commitment to becoming a Tree City USA by meeting four core standards of sound urban forestry management: maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day.
- Kennesaw’s Big Shanty Festival was named Best Festival in the January 26 edition of Cobb Life Magazine, a subsidiary of the Marietta Daily Journal. Each year, newspaper readers are asked to vote in 24 categories. Cobb Life also recognized Smith-Gilbert Gardens which was voted “Best Place to Spend the Day Outdoors.”
- The National Association for Business Resources has named the City of Kennesaw in its 2015 list of the Best and Brightest in Wellness® companies in the nation. This program annually honors companies and organizations that recognize and celebrate quality and excellence in employee and worksite health. Other winners include the American Academy of Pediatrics, CVS Health, NASA Exchange Johnson Space Center, Quicken Loans, and the City of Houston.
- Atlanta Parent Magazine asked readers to vote for their favorite places to spend time with children in its annual poll, “Best of Family Fun.” Smith-Gilbert Gardens was selected as one of the three best gardens in the metro. Mentioned were hearing a garden story, taking a Young Chefs class, or becoming a Young Explorer.
- Website safewise.com annually names the safest cities in every state by analyzing the most recent FBI Crime Report data of cities with 4,000 or more residents in 2013. Kennesaw ranks 11th of the 100 cities in the rankings and was the only Cobb County municipality in the top 20. Last year, the city ranked #13.
- WalletHub has released its Best & Worst Small Cities in America for 2015, and Kennesaw made it into the top 200. WalletHub’s analysts compared 1,268 cities across four key dimensions: affordability, economic health, education and health quality of life. Cities with a population size between 25,000 and 100,000 residents were then based on 22 metrics, ranging from housing costs to school-system quality to the number of restaurants per capita. Kennesaw ranked 174.
- The website onlyinyourstate.com ranked Kennesaw #4 in the list of the 10 safest and most peaceful places to live in Georgia.
- The Atlanta Regional Commission’s LCI (Livable Centers Initiative) Achievement Award for 2015 went to Revival on Main, South City Partners and the City of Kennesaw. The five-acre Revival on Main project includes 252 apartments, 10,000 square feet of retail, and a parking deck shared by residents, shoppers and employees. ARC’s Development of Excellence awards recognize projects that exemplify cutting-edge, livable design that enhances the surrounding community.
- The Atlanta Business Chronicle reported that Kennesaw is the sixth best suburb to buy a home, according to the website Niche.com. The site ranks suburbs based on home values, property taxes, housing costs, and the ages of new home buyers.
- The city website has won another prestigious award from the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts. The W3 Awards honors creative excellence on the web. The Kennesaw city site was a Silver Winner of a W3 Award in the Tourism category.
- The Building Services Department has achieved accreditation from the International Accreditation Service, a division of the International Code Council. Kennesaw is the only jurisdiction in the state of Georgia and one of only 22 in the U.S. that have earned this prestigious accreditation.
- The economic development and planning group received an award from the Georgia Planning Association recognizing their outstanding planning process for a community under 35,000 population. The award cited the city’s collaborative approach on community engagement as part of the Livable Centers Initiative.
- Swift-Cantrell Park was recognized with the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence as one of the best parks in the business, earned by consistently great reviews submitted to the world’s largest travel site.
- The Georgia Department of Community Affairs Office of Construction Codes and Industrialized Buildings honored Kennesaw as the first jurisdiction in Georgia to adopt the disaster resilient construction appendices.
- Movato, the popular real estate blogging site, named Kennesaw as one of Nine Great Places Near Atlanta for Young Couples, citing its excellent shopping, entertainment, and proximity to Kennesaw State University.
- Kennesaw was named in the Top Ten of the 50 safest cities in Georgia with populations of 5,000 or more as of 2012, according to home security company SafeWise. The company compiles the list to help families figure out which cities and towns are the safest and best by examining the most recent FBI Crime in the U.S. Report and combining those statistics with their own research. Kennesaw placed tenth on the list.
- Real estate blogging website movoto.com, nationally known for its city-ranking lists, recently ranked Kennesaw one of the ten best places in Georgia. The Top Ten best lists are compiled from all the cities in a state with a population of 10,000 or more (there are 81 in Georgia). Factors considered are amenities, quality of life (including cost of living, median home price, rent, and household income and student to teacher ratio), crime rate, tax rates, unemployment, commute time and weather. Kennesaw earned high marks for its low crime rate and quality of life as well as its variety of amenities and high median household income.
- Kennesaw has also been listed among the five safest in the State by Movoto. The site compiled crime such as murder, rape and property crime rates and ranked the cities according to which had the lowest rates. The site looked at the 84 cities in the state of Georgia with a population of more than 10,000 people and compared crime data from the 2012 FBI Uniform Crime Report, then published a list of the top 50 safest cities in the state. Kennesaw placed fourth.
- The City of Kennesaw took top honors in the medium-sized companies division of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Atlanta’s Healthiest Employers Award, it was announced at the awards breakfast on February 21. The city placed fourth in 2013. Each year, the Chronicle partners with Healthiest Employers LLC, a data research company focused on the corporate wellness industry. Healthiest Employers collects, measures, and compares corporate wellness data worldwide.The medium-sized company category includes employers of 100-499 employees; the City of Kennesaw employs 201.
- “Best Neighborhood to Live in Georgia” can now be added to the list of “bests” recently earned by Kennesaw. Georgia Places, a new real estate portal, includes Kennesaw in its list of seven of the best neighborhoods to live in Georgia, citing easy access to I-75 and US Highway 41 and a broad range of housing options to suit varying budgets. The blog also credits Kennesaw for excellent employment opportunities, particularly in retail thanks to nearby Town Center Mall. The blog declares that job diversification is expected to increase as well.
- Kennesaw is recognized by the National League of Cities’ Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties (LMCTC), a major component of First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative dedicated to solving the childhood obesity epidemic within a generation. Kennesaw placed 8th in the nation using the National League of Cities (NLC) guidelines by achieving significant milestones in improving physical activity and healthy eating and was awarded nine medals for best practices in meeting health and wellness goals.
- The City of Kennesaw earned 4th place in the medium-sized companies division of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Atlanta’s Healthiest Employers Awards. Healthiest Employers collects, measures, and compares corporate wellness data worldwide.
- Smith-Gilbert Gardens has been approved for Level II accreditation through the ArbNet Program.
- Fit City Kennesaw is launched: a community wide program to encourage and empower participants to combat obesity and inactivity and improve their quality of life. The program promotes nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction and offers fit-friendly events throughout the year including six 5K road races.
- Kennesaw’s Swift-Cantrell Park is awarded a $15,000 grant through the America Is Your Park contest, sponsored by The Coca Cola Company. Almost three million votes were cast for Swift-Cantrell, placing it among the top five finishers in the contest.
- The City of Kennesaw’s Police Department earns re-accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).
- The City of Kennesaw gains certification as a Silver Level Green Community by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) Board.
- Smith Gilbert Gardens is awarded Level I Accreditation through the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and is now recognized with other professional public gardens in the Morton Register of Arboreta, a database of 500 tree-focused public gardens.
- The Georgia Recreation and Parks Association (GRPA) named the City of Kennesaw Parks & Recreation Department 2011 Agency of the Year for cities with a population of 20,000-30,000. The award recognizes outstanding contributions in the delivery of parks, recreation and leisure services in the state of Georgia.
- The City of Kennesaw was certified as a Bronze Level Green Community by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) Board. The Green Communities Program is a voluntary certification program which encourages local governments to become more sustainable. ARC developed the program to assist cities and counties in implementing policies and practices that reduce their overall environmental impact.
- The Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History celebrated its 10th anniversary as a prestigious member of the Smithsonian Institution Affiliations program on December 3, 2011. The Museum was awarded a special plaque by a Smithsonian representative to commemorate the anniversary.
- The annual Pigs & Peaches BBQ Festival was named one of the Top 25 BBQ Events/Festivals in the US by the Kansas City Barbecue Society. Pigs & Peaches is the KCBS-sanctioned championship for the state of Georgia.
- Kennesaw was selected as one of the “Top 25 Cities and Towns with the Best American Values” in the May 2009 edition of Newsmax Magazine. In choosing Kannesaw, the editors cited the city’s excellent school systems, low crime rate, air quality, green spaces and easily accessible family-friendly activities.
- The City of Kennesaw’s Police Department was granted accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). CALEA is a national organization that develops professional standards for excellence in law enforcement management and service. Earning accreditation is voluntary and involves an intense examination of all aspects of law enforcement.
- The city was recognized as a Platinum-Level Start! Fit-Friendly Employer by the American Heart Association’s Start! movement for helping employees eat better and move more. A voluntary comprehensive wellness program offered to the city staff encourages and rewards a healthy lifestyle.
- The city was designated a Tree City USA community by the Arbor Day Foundation. This designation recognizes cities and towns that plant and care for the community forest. It is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and the USDA Forest Service.
- Kennesaw was selected by Family Circle Magazine as one of the nation’s “10 Best Towns for Families.” The article appeared in the magazine’s August 2007 edition. The publication announced the results of its search to identify the best communities across the country that combine big-city opportunities with suburban charm, a blend of affordable housing, good jobs, top-rated schools, wide-open spaces and a lot less stress. Family Circle is a monthly magazine with a circulation of 3.9 million and has approximately 20 million readers.
- Kennesaw was designated a Preserve America Community by First Lady Laura Bush. The Preserve America program is a White House effort to encourage and support community efforts for the preservation and enjoyment of America’s priceless cultural and natural heritage. The program recognizes and designates communities that protect and celebrate their heritage, use their historic assets for economic development and community revitalization, and encourage people to experience and appreciate local historic resources through education and heritage tourism programs.