River Walk named Great Place in America
APA’s Great Places in America program recognizes streets, neighborhoods and public spaces that demonstrate exceptional character, quality and planning. Those attributes, the APA says, enrich communities, facilitate economic growth and inspire others around the country. The Great Neighborhoods, Great Streets and Great Public Spaces of 2017 are unique places that are exemplary in amenities and infrastructure, in cultural identity and in the use of sustainable and innovative practices.
“The Concho River is an absolute jewel,” Mayor Brenda Gunter said. “San Angelo has always known that. Now the rest of this great country does, as well. We hope this will spark an even greater interest among visitors to come see our River Walk … and all that San Angelo has to offer.
“The community can take a lot of pride in having invested in San Angelo’s signature asset,” she added. “The River Walk has been transformed into an engaging place to picnic with your family, to play with your kids, to stroll with your sweetie, to socialize with your neighbors and to celebrate with your community.”
APA President Cynthia Bowen agreed, noting the River Walk is among the places that “effectively create a sense of place that enhances the lives of all residents and visitors.”
While San Angelo has long been an economic and social hub for West Texas, residents and city officials believed more could be done to cement the city’s distinctiveness. In the mid-2000s, city officials had the passion and vision to harness one of the city’s greatest assets – the North Concho River. The River Walk improvement project developed its banks in a way that increased accessibility to both sides of the stream. In doing so, the city created a deepened sense of community and place, drawing tourists and sparking commercial activity. With plans to expand the Concho River Walk even further, the story of San Angelo’s reinvention may have only just begun.
The APA also recognized the following public spaces this year:
- Mill Creek Linear Park – Bakersfield, California
- Rosa Parks Circle – Grand Rapids, Michigan
- County Home Complex – Greenville, North Carolina
- Market Square – Knoxville, Tennessee
Since launching the Great Places in America program in 2007, APA has recognized 275 neighborhoods, streets and public spaces around the country. Designees are selected 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 the future.
For the fourth year, the public can suggest their favorite public space, neighborhood or street to earn a “People’s Choice” designation. Throughout October, people can offer suggestions via APA’s social media channels using #APAgreatplaces. APA will select five finalists the public can vote on via APA’s website. The “People’s Choice” winner will be announced in early November.
For more information about these public spaces, as well as APA’s Great Public Spaces and Streets for 2017 and previous years, visit planning.org/greatplaces.
- International Water Lily Collection - 2 S. Park Street,
collection of water lilies near the Concho River.
- Santa Fe Golf Course - 111 Veterans Memorial Drive (formerly River Drive), 9 holes, Open year-round. 325-657-4485.
- Kids Kingdom Park - 290 W. Veterans Memorial Drive(formerly River Drive),
9.5 acres, wooden playground structure, and pavilion for rent.
- Downtown Skate Park - 130 Veterans Memorial Drive (formerly River Drive).
- The Bosque - 330 S. Irving Street. The Grove concession building is closed until Spring Break 2017.
- Firefighters Memorial City Park - 315 E. Twohig Avenue, playground, pavilion, work out equipment, basketball court, walking trail, picnic area, restrooms.