College Avenue in Appleton, Wisconsin, Selected as the “People’s Choice” Great Place Designation by the American Planning Association

The American Planning Association (APA) announced that College Avenue in Appleton, Wisconsin, has earned the “People’s Choice” designation as one of the Great Places in America in 2014.

photo 1College Avenue also is the first-ever selected 31st Great Place “People’s Choice” designation, a new addition to APA’s Great Places in America program.  Suggestions for great public spaces, streets, or neighborhoods were collected throughout the month of October via social media outlets using the hashtag #mygreatplace.  From the hundreds of suggestions, 10 were randomly selected as finalists.  The public could vote through APA’s website over the past week.

“We are thrilled that people around the country voted to give this award to Appleton. This is truly a “People’s Choice” award that all of Appleton can be proud of,” Mayor Timothy Hanna said. “It shows what a vibrant, growing downtown we have and that College Avenue is not just a street, but rather a destination we have long known is special. We’re glad the rest of the country now knows it too.”

College Avenue had tough competition with a variety of neighborhoods, streets and public spaces.  The 10 finalists also included:

Honolulu Avenue – Montrose, CA (Street)

Lincoln Square – Chicago, IL (Neighborhood)

Baltimore Inner Harbor – Baltimore, MD (Public Space)

Kerrytown District – Ann Arbor, MI (Neighborhood)

Union Street – Concord, NC (Street)

Myriad Botanical Gardens – Oklahoma City, OK (Public Space)

Sundance Square Plaza – Fort Worth, TX (Public Space)

San Antonio River Walk – San Antonio, TX (Public Space)

Town Square – Jackson Hole, WY (Public Space)

Each October during National Community Planning Month, APA’s Great Places in America program names 30 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 231 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.

College Avenue in Appleton, Wisconsin

Downtown Appleton is a thriving arts and entertainment district that retains its community and small town vibe.  With over 100 restaurants and retail establishments, the neighborhood employs more than 7,000 people.  The city is committed to protecting the existing retail businesses along College Avenue. They have enacted a strategy that includes three ingredients: concentrating retail uses; encouraging a pattern of development with small storefronts and frequently-spaced openings; and maintaining the historic architecture of the buildings.  Downtown Appleton serves as a public transportation hub and offers access to the riverfront.  Some popular local events include the year-round Farm Market, Small Business Saturday, Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade, Children’s Parade, and Lunchtime Live Summer Concerts.  To lean more click here.

In addition to College Avenue in Appleton, WI being designated a great place, the following Great Places in America were also recognized in 2014:


Uptown, Oakland, CA

La Alma/Lincoln Park, Denver, CO

Adams Morgan, Washington, DC

Victorian District, Savannah, GA

Fields Corner, Dorchester, MA

Greater Belhaven, Jackson, MS

Central West End, St. Louis, MO

Arbor Hill, Albany, NY

The Fan, Richmond, VA

Fremont, Seattle, WA

Public Spaces

Lake Mirror Park, Lakeland, FL

Bayliss Park, Council Bluffs, IA

Lincoln Trails Network, Lincoln, NE

Delaware Park, Buffalo, NY

Lithia Park, Ashland, OR

Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia, PA

Point State Park, Pittsburgh, PA

Cliff Walk, Newport, RI

The Lawn at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

Rainier Vista, Seattle, WA


Central Avenue, Hot Springs, AR

State Street, Santa Barbara, CA

Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC

Clematis Street, West Palm Beach, FL

Congress Street, Portland, ME

Broadway, New York, NY

Main Street, Sag Harbor, NY

5th and 6th Avenues – Portland Transit Mall, Portland, OR

King Street, Charleston, SC

25th Street, Ogden, UT

For more information about APA’s top 10 Great Streets and top 10 Great Public Spaces for 2014 and previous years, visit

For more about National Community Planning Month taking place throughout October visit

The American Planning Association is an independent, not- for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the art, science and profession of good planning -- physical, economic and social -- so as to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. Members of APA help create communities of lasting value and encourage civic leaders, business interests and citizens to play a meaningful role in creating communities that enrich people's lives. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago. For more information, visit

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