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American Planning Association announces inaugural Great Places Awards

The Mississippi Chapter of the American Planning Association announced the winners of their 2019 Chapter Awards, including the first inaugural Great Places in Mississippi awards. These awards, reflecting the best in planning practice, are awarded annually at the Mississippi chapter’s annual conference.

New for 2019, the Great Places in Mississippi Awards are part of a similar program of the national American Planning Association. The Great Places in Mississippi awards program recognizes communities committed to planning for, and creating, great places. The objective is to raise awareness of these places in the state. Being recognized as a Great Street, Great Neighborhood, or Great Public Space in Mississippi demonstrates the importance of planning and illustrates how local policies and projects strengthen our communities.

The inaugural winners for the 2019 Great Places in Mississippi are:

• Great Street – Russell Street Improvement Project in Starkville

The award is for a project that greatly improved the walkability and visual character of this important corridor linking downtown Starkville to the campus of Mississippi State University.

• Great Neighborhood – Adelaide Neighborhood in Starkville

The award celebrates a relatively new neighborhood, still under construction, built under the precepts of a Traditional Neighborhood Development.

• Great Public Space – The Square in Oxford

The award celebrates the historic downtown Square in Oxford, long the center of culture and economy in this city, with an enduring and special sense of place.

The Mississippi Chapter of the American Planning Association also presents awards for achievement in several areas of planning each year. The winners of the APA Mississippi’s 2019 Chapter Awards are:

• Best Public Outreach – The Byram Recreational Master Plan outreach effort by the Carl Small Town Center at Mississippi State University

The award celebrates the successful use of special designed software used on i-Pads to reach a very broad spectrum of the community as a tool for creating this Recreational Master Plan.

• Best Large Project in a Community of Over 15,000 – Vision 2037 Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code for Oxford. Presented to the City of Oxford and consultants Orion Planning + Design, this award celebrates the creation of a Comprehensive Plan and new Land Development Codes that reflect new directions for the City of Oxford to protect and enhance the best of the past, while allowing and encouraging growth following a path of creating places, not just buildings.

• Randy Meador Lifetime Achievement Award – Presented to Bob Barber, FAICP, Orion Planning + Design Barber has contributed to the profession and to the Chapter generously for well over 30 years. Both as a public servant and as a consultant, he has been a leader and teacher for many throughout the state.

• President’s Award – Shelly Johnstone, AICP, Johnstone and Associates Johnstone is a planning consultant and worked for the City of Hernando as the Deputy Planning Director and Community Development Director for many years. The President’s Award recognizes her role as a mentor for young planners in Mississippi.

APA Mississippi is Mississippi’s state chapter of the American Planning Association. With over 140 members, APA Mississippi’s mission is to create vibrant communities of lasting value through outreach, education, advocacy, and the provision of services to chapter members and the larger planning community.

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