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State Street wins national planning award

September 25, 2018

SOURCE: Dave McGee, Bristol Herald Courier

The Twin City’s State Street was named one of 15 great places today by the American Planning Association.

The organization’s Great Places program annually recognizes streets, neighborhoods and public spaces for demonstrating exceptional character, quality and planning, according to the statement announcing this year’s winners.

“Places are selected annually from nominations and represent the gold standard of projects and places that truly have a sense of place, cultural history interests and community involvement— and a good vision for tomorrow,” APA President Earl Anderson said Monday. “Bristol was nominated for State Street for the work both localities have been doing on the street itself. A good many projects have been community driven and led by both the Virginia side and the Tennessee side. The organization wanted to recognize that collaboration planning process to help revitalize the street.”

Other winners of Great Streets were in Alaska, Michigan, North Carolina and Texas.

The Bristol award was unique because State Street spans two states.

“You have two cities in two different states with two different sets of legislatures and governors and they are still able to come together and work collaboratively to revitalize this area,” he said.

Both city planning departments have worked with private landowners and through Believe in Bristol— the local Main Street group— which promotes downtown redevelopment.

“This award speaks volumes to the hard work of both of our cities and our entire downtown community,” said Maggie Bishop, executive director of Believe in Bristol. “We have always considered State Street to be a Great Street, and are very appreciative to the American Planning Association for this recognition.”

Local organizers are planning a celebration at 6 p.m. Oct. 16, featuring the bands and cheerleaders of both Tennessee High and Virginia High, who will coordinate a line dance on the state line.