Mayors from around the country have made official what more than 100,000 Broken Arrowans have known for quite some time – their hometown is one heck of a good place to live work and play.

At the 86th annual U.S. Conference of Mayors in Boston, B.A. Mayor Craig Thurmond received first place honors in the organization’s City Livability Awards Program. The award recognizes mayoral leadership in developing and implementing programs that improve the quality of life in America’s cities, focusing on the leadership, creativity, and innovation demonstrated by the mayors. The selection was made from a pool of more than 150 applicants.

The award salutes both Thurmond and the city’s Rose District.

“Receiving the City Livability Award is a tremendous honor for Broken Arrow,” said Thurmond. “Not so long ago, Main Street was almost derelict, with very few businesses and zero foot traffic. Today, residents and visitors find a vibrant downtown with unique restaurants, local artisan products, entertainment and cultural experiences that have transformed our Rose District into one of the most popular destinations in the region.”

In addition to an array of shops and restaurants, this once “derelict” section of downtown now boasts a seasonal skating rink, unique plash pad, farmer’s market, historical and military museums a Performing Arts Center, two banks and a dazzling array of live entertainment options and special events. It is also home to Rooster Days, the state’s oldest community festival.

To keep this momentum going, an $18 million mixed-use facility at the site of a former church building is being developed by Cowen Construction Co.

“Every piece of real estate inside the Rose District is leased,” noted Steve Easley, director of development for Cowen. “You drive down the street, and people are doing yoga; they are running. It’s a young, vibrant community that is just taking off.”

The largest private development in Rose District history, the Cowen project features a four-story building that will encompass residential, retail and office space. The 120,000-square-foot project will include 31,660 square feet of space for retail and offices on the first floor and at least 90 residential units on floors two through four.

“It’s an opportunity that you are not going to find in very many cities, to come in and play a substantial role in the continued growth of a district,” Easley said. “We like the urban feel of the Rose District, and the only thing the urban feel is missing is residential units. It’s a pretty simple formula.”

This was the 39th year in which cities have competed for the livability award, which is sponsored by the Conference of Mayors and Waste Management, Inc., the nation’s largest environmental solutions provider.

“Our City Livability Awards Program gives us the chance to express our pride in cities’ mayoral leadership in making urban areas cleaner, safer, and more livable,” said Tom Cochran, and executive director of the Conference of Mayors. “We are grateful to Waste Management for its many years of support for the City Livability Awards Program and for the opportunity to showcase the innovation and commitment of mayors and city governments across the country.”