April 10, 2014. North Carolina residents have spoken and pitched their favorite Main Streets and Public Places to the North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association. Main Streets and Public Places were nominated by the public through the “People’s Choice” campaign launched last month. A panel of nine expert judges has narrowed that list down and is now turning the voting over to the residents of North Carolina.
Beginning today, residents can vote online for their top picks for Great Main Streets and Great Public Spaces by going to www.greatplacesnc.org. Once there, they will find information on how to vote for the “People’s Choice” in North Carolina. This online voting will end on May 9. The finalist with the most votes in each category will be recognized as the “People’s Choice.”
Choices for the “People’s Choice” in the “Great Main Streets” category are:
- Main Street; Benson, NC – Johnson County
- E. & W. Union Street; Morganton, NC – Burke County
- King Street; Boone, NC – Watauga County
- Main; Mooresville, NC – Iredell County
- North Davidson Street; Charlotte, NC – Mecklenburg County
- The “People’s Choice” options for “Great Public Places” are:
- Downtown Waterfront Boardwalk; Manteo, NC – Dare County
- Town Common; Tarboro, NC – Edgecombe County
- Town Square; Burnsville, NC – Yancey County
- Bridge Park; Sylva, NC – Jackson County
- Little Sugar Creek Greenway; Charlotte, NC – Mecklenburg County
- Pullen Park; Raleigh, NC – Wake County
- Wrenn Miller Park; Jamestown, NC – Guilford County
In addition to the “People’s Choice” award, the expert panel selects from nominations to choose “Great Main Streets” and a “Great Main Street in the Making” as part of a separate “Professionals” category. Nominations in this category offer in-depth descriptions about the partnerships and work that went into the successful Main Street. The “Great Main Street in the Making” is a Main Street that’s still being planned or is only partly on the ground with potential for economic development and vitality.
Both the “People’s Choice” category winners and the professional category winners will be announced the week of May 12. Each place chosen will receive a framed certificate, press in their local papers, a legislative announcement with their elected officials, and will be featured in APA-NC outreach efforts and on www.greatplacesnc.org.
“It’s always fun to see which towns get selected and the excitement that is generated around that distinction,” said Emily Beddingfield, co-chair of the initiative and a planner with the Town of Clayton. “For some towns, the nomination process alone is enough to spark local PR and social media excitement. We see local businesses, town staff, elected leaders, residents, and community groups all celebrating together. They’re proud to have created something that is an example to the rest of the state. I hope to see more of that this year.” This is the third year of the Great Places in NC Initiative.
The Expert Panel
The expert panel of judges includes George Chapman, former Planning Director, City of Raleigh; Ben Hitchings, Planning Director for the Town of Morrisville and APA-NC President; Mary Joan Pugh, Chief of Staff, North Carolina Zoo; Mary Newsom, Associate Director Urban and Regional Affairs, UNC Charlotte Institute of Urban and Regional Affairs; Sue Schwartz, Planning Director, City of Greensboro; Rodger Lentz, Planning Director, City of Wilson and member of the board of directors of the American Planning Association; H. DeWitt Blackwell, Jr., Executive Director, Western Piedmont Council of Governments; David W. Owens, Gladys Hall Coates Professor of Public Law
About APA – NC
The North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association is an organization of 1,500 professional and citizen planners dedicated to preserving and creating great communities throughout North Carolina. The annual conference for the APA – NC will be October 1-3, in Durham, NC. For more information, please visit www.apa-nc.org.