Prosser Mayor Paul Warden is walking tall down the sidewalks of his city this week.
Prosser, population 5,714, beat out all other cities across Washington -- including the biggest ones -- in being chosen for the 2011 top community service recognition award given by the Association of Washington Cities.
The Municipal Excellence Award for Community Service was given for Prosser's leadership role in creating a Boys & Girls Club and for promoting positive youth programs with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin counties to prevent kids from joining gangs.
Prosser representatives, including Warden and City Administrator Charlie Bush, are expected to attend the awards breakfast at the Association of Washington Cities' annual conference in June in Spokane.
Warden boasted about the achievement in a statement Wednesday.
"This is a great honor and we love to beat the big cities. We are thankful to our community and partners for working with us to make the club a reality," he said. He added that it was done during a recession when Prosser's largest employer closed a food processing plant.
With the support of the city council, the city used $70,000 from the recreation program budget and donated a building for the Boys & Girls Club.
City officials, including Bush, then got behind a community fundraising drive to raise $85,000 and obtained one-time grants of $40,000 to retrofit the building.
Less than a year later, the club serves 78 first- through fifth-graders on school days and is expected to serve 130 children daily throughout the summer.
The Prosser School District and Ben Franklin Transit also supported the project, which was the result of the Mayor's Gang Task Force that met from January 2008 through June 2010.