Forest Park in St. Louis has been designated one of the Ten Great Public Spaces for 2013 by a national non-for-profit educational group.
The American Planning Association announced the list Friday - the nine other places on it are:
- Grand Central Terminal in New York City
- Grand Park in Los Angeles
- The Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge in Chattanooga, Tenn.
- Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, Anchorage, Alaska;
- The Broadwalk in Florida’s Hollywood, Hollywood, Fla.
- Esther Short Park, Vancouver, Wash.
- Norman B. Leventhal Park at Post Office Square, Boston
- Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Mass.
- Essex County Branch Brook Park, Newark, N.J.
The group’s Great Places in America program highlights the role that planning and planners play in adding value to communities.
Jeff Soule with the APA says Forest Park’s public-private restoration and usage – 13 million visitors a year – is impressive.
“One of the things we look for is the quality of the design, which is terrific," Soule says. "We look for the diversity of uses and then we look for, you know, who’s using it? Is it getting a broad cross-section of people? So, Forest Park certainly meets all of those ideas really, really well.”
Soule also says the story of Forest Park is a compelling one.
“...When it comes to the neighborhoods and the private sector and all the different elements that helped to revitalize this great park...It’s a story that other communities can learn from,” Soule said.
Leslie Hoffarth, the President and Executive Director of Forest Park Forever, says she is thrilled that the APA has named the park a great public space.
"Our staff, board of directors, members, donors and partners have worked extraordinarily hard in recent decades to restore this essential community treasure for our millions of visitors," Hoffarth said in a statement. "While our important work continues — every day, across every acre — we are proud to take this moment to celebrate this meaningful designation."