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Ashland's Lithia Park named a Great Public Space

Ashland's Lithia Park is one of America's 10 Great Public Spaces for 2014, the

American Planning Association announced today.

"A public space may be a gathering spot or part of a neighborhood, downtown, special district, waterfront or other area within the public realm that helps promote social interaction and a sense of community," according to APA guidelines.

The APA also named top-10 lists of Great Streets and Great Neighborhoods for a total of 30 areas nationwide, collectively known as 

Great Places in America.

The APA's citation of Lithia Park's features include its "organic layout" that follows the natural terrain and Ashland Creek; Enders Memorial Gazebo, built in 1916 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places; the Upper Duck Pond; Butler-Perrozi Fountain; auto camp registration building; Japanese garden and the

Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which began in the park in 1935.

Besides Lithia Park, other

Public Space designees were Lake Mirror Park, Lakeland, Fla.; Bayliss Park, Council Bluffs, Iowa; Lincoln Trails Network, Lincoln, Neb.; Delaware Park, Buffalo, N.Y.; Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia, Penn.; Point State Park, Pittsburgh, Penns.; Cliff Walk, Newport, R.I.; The Lawn at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.; and Rainier Vista, Seattle, Wash.

APA started naming Great Public Spaces in 2008. Included in the first year's list were Central Park, N.Y., and Union Station, Washington, D.C.

Since the Great Places in America launch in 2007, a total of 230 places have been designated. Places honored are considered the gold standard in terms of having a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement, and a vision for tomorrow. Announcements are made each October, National Community Planning Month.

The APA is an independent, nonprofit organization that, along with its professional institute,

The American Institute of Certified Planners, is dedicated to advancing the art, science and profession of community planning. Its goal is to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live.

— Ian Hand

Photo of Lithia Park by Larry Stauth Jr.
Photo of Lithia Park by Larry Stauth Jr.