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Planning group recognizes Ritter Park as ‘great public space’

Oct. 03, 2012 @ 11:27 AM

HUNTINGTON — Revered as the heart of Huntington to many lifelong residents, Ritter Park was cast in the national spotlight Wednesday when it was named as one of the 10 Great Public Spaces by the American Planning Association.

The APA, which is an educational nonprofit organization that provides leadership in community development, singled out Ritter Park for its design, recreational and cultural amenities and its integration into a national historic district with homes that represent some of the most popular architectural styles from 1913-1940.

Through its Great Places in America program, APA recognizes streets, neighborhoods and public spaces whose authentic characteristics have evolved from thoughtful and deliberate planning by residents, community leaders and planners, according to a prepared release.

“Ritter Park demonstrates how a public space, through its design and attractions, can serve diverse interests and provide a range of experiences,” APA Chief Executive Officer Paul Farmer said. “It also illustrates how a well-planned park can influence and add value to the homes and properties that surround it.”

The APA highlighted several features of Ritter Park in its release, including the rose garden and the ornate stone walls that surround it, the children’s playground and the new dog park.

Since APA established the Great Places in America program in 2007, 60 neighborhoods, 60 streets and 50 public spaces have been nationally recognized.

Joining Huntington on this year’s Great Public Spaces list were: Bienville Square in Mobile, Ala.; Cesar Chavez Park and Plaza in Sacramento; Washington Park in Denver; the Chicago Botanic Garden; Union Station in Chicago; Jackson Square in New Orleans; Village Green in Bar Harbor, Maine; Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland; and Buffalo Bayou in Houston.