The American Planning Association recently announced the Guthrie Historic District as a 2018 Great Place in America and the city is buzzing with excitement. City Hall was filled with community members as APA State Chapter President, Danielle Barker, presented this honor to the community on Wednesday morning.
Each October the APA celebrates Great Places during National Community Planning Month, their annual observance celebrating the achievements of planning in the United States, and highlights the planning behind the neighborhoods, streets, and public spaces communities love most.
“Great Places are a result of thoughtful and deliberate planning by citizen advocates, planning professionals, and local elected officials,” Barker said in her presentation.
Guthrie is the fourth community in Oklahoma to win the award and the only small community bearing the designation. Applications from over 20 states were submitted to the APA and only 15 designees were selected for the honor this year.
“Great communities and places are not by happenstance," Rebecca Blaine, Guthrie City Planner said. “There are decades of thoughtful and deliberate community planning efforts. I would like to thank everyone that has had a play in that.”
Other Great Public Space Award winners from Oklahoma include the Paseo District in Oklahoma City and two Tulsa neighborhoods, Swan Lake and Guthrie Green.
Two representatives from Guthrie accepted the award in a national presentation last week.
“It was really a privilege and an honor for Courtney (McLemore) and I to go to Washington DC and accept this award on Capitol Hill,” Blaine said.
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) applauded the community. “I am incredibly pleased and not at all surprised that the Guthrie Historic District in Guthrie, Okla., has been named a 2018 APA Great Place in America,” said Inhofe. “Guthrie is a wonderful place to live and work, so this designation is a true testament to the work of Guthrie community members to continually improve their city.
The award-winning historical district in Guthrie showcases local architecture, landscaping and reflects local culture and history.
“We have this wonderful architecture from Joseph Foucart, the Belgian architect who started this. Maybe just importantly, past city leaders during urban renewal said we’re going to keep this for posterity,” mayor Steve Gentling said.
“When I see APA saying One of Five Great Neighborhoods in our country, I think, ‘community wins,’” Gentling said. “It’s a great day for Guthrie; It’s a great day for Oklahoma.”
Great Places celebrates places of exemplary character, quality, planning and represents the gold standard and a true sense of place, cultural and historic interest, community involvement and vision for tomorrow with legacy planning.
“I am proud of my fellow Oklahomans in Guthrie for being awarded this honor and I want to personally congratulate each and every one of you who have worked to embrace your history while fostering partnerships to bring downtown economic development to life. Communities like Guthrie make Oklahoma the greatest state in the country,” Inhofe said.