2017 Great Place Designees

Downtown: Morristown

Over the past 10 years, Downtown Morristown has experienced a true renaissance. Hundreds of new residential units have injected new life and vibrancy into the downtown. Home to 18,411 residents and a workplace to over 22,000 people, a downtown that once closed down at the end of each workday now surges continuously with vibrant street life.  On any given day, local and regional patrons visit one of Morristown’s 141 restaurants, 20 bars, 9 coffee shops, an award-winning 1,302-seat performing arts center and a state-of-the-art 10-screen cinema. The town’s shared vision “is to become the most welcoming, beautiful, healthy, resilient, and sustainable place to live, work, and play in New Jersey.

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Public Space:  Hackensack Cultural Arts Center and Atlantic Street Park

The Hackensack Cultural and Performing Arts Center provides programming space for children and seniors, as well as interior gallery space for local artists. Atlantic Street Park provides performance areas for spring and summer concerts, shaded outdoor space for lunch hour, an intimate garden and outdoor chess tables. The design includes an outdoor performance stage, with ample seating on benches, seatwalls and lawn areas. The most significant architectural feature is wooden trellises that create an outdoor room. Since it’s opening, the park has been used continually for outdoor movie nights, Shakespeare in the Park and lunch time concerts.

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Great Street:  Millburn Avenue & Main Street

In late 2015, Millburn Township committed nearly $8.5M to create safer and more vibrant downtown streets.  The first phase focused on streetscape improvements including the transformation of Main Street into an “event street” and the construction of a new road to improve commercial viability and circulation.  In addition to safety and aesthetic improvements, the design also accommodated a variety of Creative Placemaking opportunities. Innovative solutions such as flexible parking lanes/parklets, enlarged corners for gathering, and an event street that includes a concrete roadway and overhead string lighting to enhance the pedestrian character of this space.

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Neighborhood:  Ocean Grove

Founded in 1869, Ocean Grove is a unique, historic and vibrant shore community that is noted for its pristine beaches, abundant Victorian architecture and old-fashioned charm that has drawn visitors for generations. Its strong Christian roots date back to the late 19th Century’s “camp meeting” movement, when a group of Methodist ministers formed the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association to develop and operate a summer camp meeting at the Jersey shore. Today, the Camp Meeting Association, the Ocean Grove Chamber of Commerce, and the many other community groups continue to provide opportunities for spiritual growth and renewal through worship as well as educational, cultural and recreational events and programs for all ages in a seaside setting.

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Reception Details

The New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association joined together at the South Orange Performing Arts Center on Monday, October 30 for food, fun, friends and entertainment as we celebrated this year’s 2017 Great Places in New Jersey designees and Planning Excellence Awardees..


2017 Awards Reception

Awards Jury

Charles W. Latini, Jr., PP, AICP
President | American Planning Association – NJ Chapter
Principal/Owner | L&G Planning

Thomas G. Dallessio AICP/PP/FRSA
President, CEO & Publisher | Next City

Jef Buehler, MPA, LNJ ‘09
Placemaking & Place-Based Revitalization Specialist
Local Planning Services
New Jersey Department of Community Affairs

Peter S. Reinhart, Esq.
Director, Kislak Real Estate Institute | Monmouth University
Chairman | New Jersey Future

Mike Cerra
Assistant Executive Director
New Jersey State League of Municipalities

Charles Brown, MPA
Senior Researcher | Adjunct Professor
Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center
Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy