Sandusky Street might shine a bit brighter this week as it glows in the light of national recognition.

The American Planning Association (APA) announced this week the country’s 13 Great Places for 2019 through the organization’s national flagship program Great Places in America.

One of those places is right here at home, and another is close by.

APA’s Great Places in America program recognizes the streets, neighborhoods, and public spaces in the United States demonstrating exceptional character, quality, and planning — attributes that enrich communities, facilitate economic growth, and inspire others around the country. The Great Neighborhoods, Great Streets, and Great Public Spaces of 2019 are places that are unique and exemplary in their success stories of revitalization and cultural identity and for creating strong community connection.

“Our Great Places in America designees demonstrate the value of planning in creating stronger, healthier, and more just communities,” said Kurt Christiansen, FAICP, president of APA. “These neighborhoods, streets, and public spaces unified communities and overcame challenges. It is always exciting to recognize these outstanding places as a countdown to National Community Planning Month.”

Since launching the Great Places in America program in 2007, APA has recognized 303 neighborhoods, streets, and public spaces located in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Designees are selected annually and represent the gold standard for a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement, and a vision for the future.

Places were divided into three categories – Great Neighborhoods, Great Public Spaces, and Great Streets. The four Great Places in the Great Neighborhoods category were:

  • Downtown Lee’s Summit – Lee’s Summit, Missouri
  • Downtown Patchogue Village – Patchogue, New York
  • Short North Arts District – Columbus, Ohio
  • Historic Downtown Delaware – Delaware, Ohio

In recognizing Downtown Delaware, the APA shared the following:

“Downtown Delaware, Ohio, was a burgeoning community in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with strong institutions like Ohio Wesleyan University and the county courthouse anchoring the neighborhood. But economic growth faltered in the 1970s and 1980s.

Boarded-up buildings dotted the three-block stretch of Sandusky Street, the commercial heart of downtown, and vacancy rates soared. Downtown Delaware was no longer a destination for visitors or residents.

Recognizing the negative impact that losing a historically, aesthetically, and economically meaningful center would have on Delaware, city officials jumped to action to preserve the downtown’s architectural heritage, a move that would ultimately halt downtown Delaware’s retail exodus.”

More of this narrative can be found on Downtown Delaware’s official Great Places webpage, which can be found here.


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