American Planning Association Names LoDo One of Top 10 Great Neighborhoods

Today the Denver Community Planning and Development Department and American Planning Association announced that LoDo is being named one of the top 10 “Great Neighborhoods for 2010″. Here is the press release:

Denver, CO– The American Planning Association (APA) today announced the designation of the Lower Downtown Denver (LoDo) as one of 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2010 under the organization’s Great Places in America program. APA Great Places exemplify exceptional character and highlight the role planners and planning play in creating communities of lasting value.

APA singled out LoDo for its strong political leadership by current and former mayors, historical character and adaptive reuse of warehouse buildings, and use of planning to guide its revitalization.  

“This national recognition of Denver’s LoDo district as one of our country’s great places is a welcome reward to the many civic and business leaders in our community whose vision, determination and collaboration over the past 30 years have preserved and revitalized this historic neighborhood,” said Mayor John Hickenlooper. “We thank APA for this great honor.” 

Through Great Places in America, APA recognizes unique and authentic characteristics found in three essential components of all communities – streets, neighborhoods, and public spaces. APA Great Places offer better choices for where and how people work and live, and are defined by many things including planning, architectural styles, accessibility and community involvement. Since APA began Great Places in America in 2007, 40 neighborhoods, 40 streets and 30 public spaces have been designated in 47 states and the District of Columbia. 

“We’re very excited to name LoDo as one of this year’s Great Neighborhoods,” said APA Chief Executive Officer Paul Farmer, FAICP. “The area’s transformation from derelict warehouse district to popular and burgeoning historic neighborhood is the result of visionary city leadership, political fortitude and careful planning,” he added.  

Comprising 24 blocks located near the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River, leading LoDo’s emergence as a vibrant neighborhood were several elected officials including current Mayor John Hickenlooper and former Mayor Frederico Pena. Planning also played an important role, including a downtown area plan approved in 1987 and updated in 2007, and a neighborhood plan approved in 2000. The plans underscored the community’s overriding desire to protect the neighborhood, and helped address property owners’ concerns and issues raised by opponents. Helping fund neighborhood improvements was a $240 million bond issue, approved by voters in 1989, that enabled the city to tear down viaducts and dramatically improve the neighborhood’s streetscape. 

Founded by General William Larimer, Jr. in 1858, LoDo is considered the historic heart of Denver. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988, among the neighborhood’s architectural gems are the historic Union Station and opulent Oxford Hotel. There’s also 100-plus restored red-brick Victorian warehouse and commercial buildings that now contain loft residences, art galleries, shops, clubs and restaurants. LoDo’s 3,500 residents include families, young professionals and empty nesters. Easily accessed via Union Station or the 16th Street Mall, the neighborhood is very conducive to walking and biking.  

The nine other APA 2010 Great Neighborhoods are: Downtown Frederick in Frederick, MD; Historic Ninth Street Hill in Lafayette, IN; Back Bay in Boston, MA; The Paseo in Oklahoma City, OK; Cathedral Historic District in Sioux Falls, SD; Frank Lloyd Wright Historic Neighborhood in Oak Park, IL; Historic John S. Park Neighborhood in Las Vegas, NV; Hyde Park in Cincinnati, OH; and Riverside Avondale in Jacksonville, FL. For more information about these neighborhoods, as well as APA’s top 10 Great Streets, top 10 Great Public Spaces, and designations between 2007 and 2009, visit www.planning.org/greatplaces. This year’s Great Places in America are being celebrated as part of APA’s National Community Planning Month during October; for more about the special month, visit www.planning.org/ncpm.

 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, Ill. For more information, visit www.planning.org.  

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