Sept. 25, 2019

In the program’s 12th year, APA Recognizes 13 Great Neighborhoods,
Streets and Public Spaces
Washington, D.C.— The American Planning Association (APA) has named Downtown Lee’s Summit, Missouri, as one of four Great Neighborhoods on APA’s annual Great Places in America list, which starts the countdown to National Community Planning Month in October.
“The beauty, charm, and culture of our great city is best exemplified in the heart of Lee’s Summit, our historic downtown,” said Lee’s Summit Mayor Bill Baird. “We are thankful for the vision of those past and present that invested their time, money, passion and talents to develop and implement a downtown master plan.”
APA’s Great Places in America program recognizes the streets, neighborhoods and public spaces in the United States demonstrating exceptional character, quality and planning—attributes that enrich communities, facilitate economic growth, and inspire others around the country. The Great Neighborhoods, Great Streets and Great Public Spaces of 2019 are places that are unique and exemplary in their success stories of revitalization, cultural identity, and strong community connection. 
“The Great Neighborhoods recognized this year demonstrate the importance of planning in creating vibrant and sustainable communities,” said Kurt Christiansen, FAICP, APA president. “The success of Downtown Lee’s Summit celebrates the importance of a truly collaborative planning process between community stakeholders, business leaders and citizens alike.”
In the late 20th century, declining investment in the downtown and growing sprawl led to high vacancy rates for Downtown Lee’s Summit. In response, business leaders and citizen advocates created a partnership that would lay the foundation for the city’s next 30 years of revitalization efforts. With an emphasis on preservation and reinvestment, the Downtown Lee’s Summit community has come together to prioritize long-term sustainability to bring the current vacancy rate down to zero percent.
The community will come together to celebrate Lee’s Summit’s designation as a Great Neighborhood in America on October 26, 2019, at Howard Station Park at 11 am following the annual Boos, Barks & Badges Halloween Parade.  
In addition to Lee’s Summit, APA has also recognized the following Great Neighborhoods in 2019:  Downtown Patchogue Village – Patchogue, New YorkShort North Arts District – Columbus, Ohio  Historic Downtown Delaware – Delaware, Ohio  Since launching the Great Places in America program in 2007, APA has recognized 303 neighborhoods, streets and public spaces around the country. Designees are selected annually and represent the gold standard for a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement, and a vision for the future. 
For the sixth year, members of the public can suggest their favorite public space, neighborhood, or street to earn a “People’s Choice” designation. Throughout October, individuals can offer suggestions via APA’s social media channels using the hashtag #APAgreatplaces. APA will select five finalists that the public can vote on via APA’s website. The “People’s Choice” winner will be announced on October 30, 2019.  
For more information about APA’s Great Neighborhoods, Great Streets and Great Public Spaces for 2019 and previous years, visit  

For more information about Downtown Lee’s Summit, visit

Learn more about APA’s National Community Planning Month by visiting  
The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides vital leadership in creating great communities for all. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the profession of planning – physical, economic and social – to foster quality of life for all residents. The 45,000 members work in concert with community members, civic leaders and business interests to create communities that enrich people’s lives. Through its philanthropic work, the APA Foundation helps to reduce economic and social barriers to planning. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago. Learn more at 
1 Comment

1 Comment

  • Patricia A Cobb

    September 26, 2019 - 7:09 am

    I wish Blue Springs downtown could be more like this!

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