Each year, the American Planning Association (APA) recognizes and celebrates ten neighborhoods, ten streets, and ten public spaces in America. Locations are chosen in part “because of their interesting and unique characteristics; their strong sense of place; and because they are a vibrant and have lasting value.”
Based on APA Chapter Presidents Council Advisor Andy Epple’s speech, Broadway Avenue in Red Lodge was chosen more because it’s regularly closed for parades and events like the Christmas Stroll and the Home of Champions Rodeo Parade; because jaywalking is a vocation–if not a sport–in Red Lodge; and because the business owners along Broadway do so much to decorate the street and keep it looking good. He admits that the part about the jaywalking is a joke, but he spent quite a bit of time discussing it!
APA’s announcement focused on the way Broadway “fuses a rustic ‘Old West’ character surrounded by wilderness with modern commerce.” It’s rare to have a street like Broadway that has no traffic lights.
Since the award was presented by the American Planning Association, the planning document developed in the early 1980s factored into the decision as well. Published by the Carbon County Historic Preservation Office in 1986 as the “Red Lodge Revitalization Master Plan,” this book is still available from the Historical Society and Red Lodge Books, and is still used for guidelines on restoration, repair, and new building downtown.
The APA was impressed by Red Lodge’s handling of parking downtown, and by the development code that allows upper floors of buildings on Broadway to be used as residences.
Broadway in Red Lodge is the first place in Montana to be selected for the award, which was presented to the City on Tuesday, October 19. Approximately 180 suggestions were reviewed before making the final selections.
Red Lodge is in good company. One of the public spaces chosen was Boston Commons, which dates back to 1634, and one of the great neighborhoods is Downtown Frederick, which dates to 1734.
The other nine APA Great Streets in America are: 5th Avenue in San Diego, CA; Wydown Boulevard in Clayton, MO; Massachusetts Street in Lawrence, KS; Spring Street in Eureka Springs, AR; Washington Street in Hoboken, NJ; Bank Street in Wallace, ID; Middle Street in New Bern, NC; Washington Street in Middleburg, VA; and Liberty Street in Franklin, PA.
For more information about the awards and the Great Places program, visit www.planning.org/greatplaces.