CHICAGO—Today, the American Planning Association (APA) announced that Colley Avenue in Norfolk, Virginia, has earned the “People’s Choice” designation as one of the Great Places in America in 2015.
For the second year in the row, APA asked the public to nominate their favorite public space, neighborhood, or street. Suggestions were collected throughout October via social media outlets using the hashtag #GreatPlaces. Five finalists were then selected out of the nearly hundred suggestions that were received. The public could then vote for their favorite through APA’s website during the second part of October.
“Norfolk is a vibrant, historic port city, filled with authentic, diverse neighborhoods and Colley Avenue in Ghent is just one the many gems our city has to offer.” said Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim. “We are honored to have won this recognition, and excited to be able to share this special and unique place.”
Colley Avenue was the clear favorite for this year’s “People’s Choice” designation. The other finalists up for consideration included Downtown Florence, Ala.; Gallivan Center, Salt Lake City, Utah; South Bend Farmer’s Market, South Bend, Ind.; and Union Square, Somerville, Mass.
In October during National Community Planning Month, APA’s Great Places in America program names 15 exemplary streets, neighborhoods and public spaces that add value to communities and foster economic growth and jobs. APA’s Great Streets, Great Neighborhoods and Great Public Spaces feature unique and authentic characteristics that have evolved from years of thoughtful and deliberate planning by residents, community leaders and planners.
Since Great Places in America was launched in 2007, APA has designated 245 neighborhoods, streets and public spaces. Places are announced annually and represent the gold standard in terms of having a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement, and a vision for tomorrow.
ABOUT LOCAL WINNER
Stretching for 18 blocks through the core of Norfolk’s historic Ghent neighborhood, Colley Avenue forms the spine of a classic 19th Century grid-pattern street network, connecting residential blocks lined with a mix of stately historic homes, apartments, and townhouses, with its restaurants, both trendy and traditional, retail, office, and institutional uses. It is dotted throughout its length with generously-landscaped stoops, balconies, and outdoor dining, Colley Avenue presents a welcoming pedestrian experience for residents, workers, and visitors alike. While Colley Avenue showcases a wide variety of historic architecture ranging in age from the 1890s to the 1930s, its streetscape has continually been added to throughout its history. This has led to a blending of styles ranging from the historic to the modern, with the Art Deco architecture of the NARO Theater coexisting with the modern brick and glass façade of the Eastern Virginia Medical School Jones Institute. Colley Avenue regularly serves as a community gathering space where the wide sidewalks of its commercial core host constant activity day and night, with outdoor diners interacting with theater patrons while being serenaded by buskers.