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article imageThis year’s list of America’s great places announced

By Martin Laine     Oct 12, 2014 in Lifestyle
The Uptown neighborhood of Oakland, Calif., Central Avenue in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and Lake Mirror Park in Lakeland, Florida, all ranked among the top of their categories in the 2014 Great Places in America list released earlier this month.
Since 2007, the American Planning Association has designated the top 10 neighborhoods, streets, and public spaces in the country, according to a press release on the organization’s website.
“Our Great Places in America designees reflect many important aspects of planning, including community engagement and economic benefits,” said APA president William Anderson. “These exemplary neighborhoods, streets and public spaces showcase the great results that come about when diverse groups of people work together to create communities with lasting value.”
Other neighborhoods that made it into the top 10 this year are La Alma/Lincoln in Denver, Colo.; Adams Morgan, Washington, DC; Victorian District, Savannah, Georgia; Fields Corner, Dorchester, Mass.; Greater Belhaven, Jackson, Miss.; Central West End, St. Louis, Missouri; Arbor Hill, Albany, NY; The Fan, Richmond, Virginia; and Fremont, Seattle, WA.
In summarizing what qualities earned Uptown Oakland the top neighborhood designation, a statement from the APA reads “the neighborhood is distinguished through the dedication of its residents, concentration of arts, culture and entertainment venues, restaurants, bars, and well-preserved historic buildings, all within close proximity and with easy access to transportation.”
Central Avenue was a top designee in the Great Streets category. A report on the THV-11 website describes the street as being the major roadway through town, winding through the Ouachita Mountains on the outskirts of town, and flanked by historic buildings, artisans studios and galleries, restaurants and museums as it runs through the downtown area.
Other streets included in the list are State St., Santa Barbara, Calif.; Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, DC; Clematis St., West Palm Beach, Fla.; Congress St., Portland, Maine; Broadway, NYC; Main St., Sag Harbor NY; 5th and 6th Avenues, Portland, Oregon; and King Street, South Carolina; 25th St., Ogden Utah.
Lake Mirror Park in Lakeland, Florida, earned a top10 spot for Great Public Spaces.
“Lake Mirror Park has become the center of activity in the community and is the only location in the city that can accommodate large and diverse events. The park provides ample open space for residents, employees and visitors to recreate, socialize, or restfully enjoy the scenery. ” according to the APA statement.
Later this month there will be a People’s Choice award for the first time. Members of the public can nominate their choice for great places on the APA’s Facebook page or via twitter at hashtag #mygreatplace.
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