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Point State Park named as one of '30 Great Places in America'
First Lady Susan Corbett joined officials from DCNR Oct. 1 as Point State Park in Pittsburgh was named one of the "30 Great Places in America" by the American Planning Association (APA).

Each October during National Community Planning Month, APA’s Great Places in America program names 30 exemplary streets, neighborhoods and public spaces that add value to communities and foster economic growth and jobs.

“Many of Pennsylvania’s state parks provide not only outdoor recreation, but have important connections to our history and culture, and Point State Park is no exception. It combines outdoor amenities such as walkways, native plantings and river access with the opportunity to learn something about Pennsylvania’s role in the French and Indian War,” said First Lady Susan Corbett at an event in the park. “Point State Park is a great example of Pittsburgh’s rebirth, shining after recently undergoing a multi-million dollar improvement project.”

APA’s Great Streets, Great Neighborhoods and Great Public Spaces feature unique and authentic characteristics that have evolved from years of thoughtful and deliberate planning by residents, community leaders and planners.

“Recognizing these special places highlights the role planning plays in adding value to communities,” said William Anderson, FAICP, president of APA. “Planners, working with others, help build better communities in a variety of settings, from urban to rural; the result - better neighborhoods, cities, and regions. We applaud these efforts and congratulate this year’s designees.”

Great Places in America are announced annually and represent the gold standard in terms of having a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement and a vision for tomorrow.

"On any given sunny afternoon Point State Park's lawns and waterfront promenades are packed with families, cyclists, dogs, wedding parties, kayakers and frisbee throwers," said Lisa Schroeder, Riverlife president and CEO. "Thanks to thoughtful planning and the recent community-supported restoration, Point State Park has emerged once again as a place where people enjoy spending time, and the park continues to be a truly great public space and an iconic asset for downtown Pittsburgh."

Point State Park welcomes about three million visitors annually.

“This designation is an acknowledgement not only of the physical improvements to Point State Park, but also of the dedication of DCNR staff and our partners. We know that every dollar we invest in our state park system generates $12 in local economic activity.That’s a great return on our investment,” DCNR Secretary Ellen Ferretti said. “Managing our state parks at DCNR is a team effort and, on days like this, its important to remember and acknowledge each and every member of that team.”

Point State Park, a National Historic Landmark, commemorates the strategic and historic heritage of the area during the French and Indian War. It’s situated where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers meet to form the Ohio River, an area highly contested between British and French armies in the 1700s.

By the 1950s, the area had deteriorated into a commercial slum. The construction of Point State Park was one of the key accomplishments of Pittsburgh's first Renaissance urban renewal initiative, and is now a key component of the National Register of Historic Places Pittsburgh Renaissance Historic District.

A more than six-year, multi-million dollar renovation of the park was completed in June 2013.

For more information and to see a list of the other Great Places in America designees visit here

For more information about Point State Park, visit here.

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October 1, 2014

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