Wisconsin Downtown Named to 2014 List of Great Places in America with Designation as “People’s Choice” Winner

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In its first year of including a “People’s Choice” category, the American Planning Association has named College Avenue of Appleton, Wisconsin, to its 2014 list of Great Places in America. The Wisconsin-based downtown destination received the recognition after hundreds of nominations were submitted and it went on to earn the most votes in the top 10 final selection.

Downtown Appleton, Wisconsin
There were some really remarkable places across the United States that made the list of finalists, and the fact that the public vote went to Downtown Appleton says a lot about how wonderful and unique College Avenue is.

College Avenue of Appleton, Wisconsin, was designated as the 2014 “People’s Choice” for Great Places in America through the American Planning Association (APA).

The mile-long stretch in Downtown Appleton was selected from among hundreds of nominations for the APA’s newly-created category and beat out the San Antonio River Walk, Lincoln Square of Chicago, Baltimore Inner Harbor and other top 10 finalists.

“We are thrilled that people around the country voted to give this award to Appleton. This is truly a ‘People’s Choice’ award that all of Appleton can be proud of,” Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna said. “It shows what a vibrant, growing downtown we have and that College Avenue is not just a street, but rather a destination we have long known is special. We’re glad the rest of the country now knows it too.”

According to the APA, the Great Places in America program recognizes locales that “represent the gold standard in terms of having a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement and a vision for tomorrow.” Additionally, the places chosen are considered “enjoyable, safe and desirable” and exemplify communities where people want to work and live.

“It’s an incredible honor to be recognized by the people as a destination of choice,” said Jennifer Stephany, executive director of Appleton Downtown, Inc. “There were some really remarkable places across the United States that made the list of finalists, and the fact that the public vote went to Downtown Appleton says a lot about how wonderful and unique College Avenue is.”

Stephany describes Downtown Appleton as a thriving district that combines a great mix of arts and entertainment with 100+ restaurants and retail establishments. College Avenue seamlessly blends a walkable stretch of storefronts, coffee shops, eateries and galleries with a variety of lodging options and activities for all ages.

“A common theme among visitor and resident feedback is that Downtown Appleton offers the best of both worlds – the attractions you’d find in a big city, but a small-town, community feel,” Stephany said.

Downtown Appleton also hosts a variety of popular events, including Octoberfest and the Downtown Appleton Farm Market, as well as the nation’s largest Flag Day Parade, Wisconsin’s biggest night-time Christmas Parade and the Mile of Music festival, which attracts artists and bands from all over the country.

“This is a really exciting designation for Downtown Appleton as the area continues to flourish,” Stephany said. “People aren’t just choosing it as a place to visit. They’re realizing what a great place it is to live.”

APA has been selecting 30 Great Places in America each year since 2007, with 10 locations chosen for three different categories – Great Neighborhoods, Great Streets and Great Public Places. The “People’s Choice” category was added in 2014, and once the Top 10 finalists were announced, online voting was opened to the public for one week.

Appleton Downtown, Inc. (ADI) is a not-for-profit community coalition in Wisconsin dedicated to an economically strong, safe, attractive and exciting downtown. For more information on events, services or businesses in Downtown Appleton, visit http://www.appletondowntown.org.

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Lori Van Handel
Willems Marketing
+1 920.750.5020
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Anne Wiegman
Appleton Downtown, Inc.
920.954.9112
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