News Release: November 3, 2015

Colley Avenue in Norfolk, Virginia, Selected as the 'People's Choice' Great Place

The American Planning Association announces the "People's Choice" Great Places in America Designation.

CHICAGO — The American Planning Association (APA) announced that Colley Avenue in Norfolk, Virginia, has earned the "People's Choice" designation as one of the Great Places in America in 2015.

For the second year in the row, APA asked the public to nominate their favorite public space, neighborhood, or street. Suggestions were collected throughout October via social media outlets using the hashtag #GreatPlaces. Five finalists were then selected out of the nearly hundred suggestions that were received. The public could then vote for their favorite through APA's website during the second part of October.

"Norfolk is a vibrant, historic port city, filled with authentic, diverse neighborhoods and Colley Avenue in Ghent is just one the many gems our city has to offer," said Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim. "We are honored to have won this recognition, and excited to be able to share this special and unique place."

Colley Avenue was the clear favorite for this year's "People's Choice" designation. The other finalists up for consideration included Downtown Florence, Alabama; Gallivan Center, Salt Lake City, Utah; South Bend Farmer's Market, South Bend, Indiana; and Union Square, Somerville, Massachusetts.

In October during National Community Planning Month, APA's Great Places in America program names 15 exemplary streets, neighborhoods and public spaces that add value to communities and foster economic growth and jobs. 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.

Since Great Places in America was launched in 2007, APA has designated 245 neighborhoods, streets and public spaces. Places 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.

About Colley Avenue

Stretching for 18 blocks through the core of Norfolk, Virginia's historic Ghent neighborhood, Colley Avenue forms the spine of a classic 19th century grid-pattern street network. The avenue connects residential blocks lined with a mix of stately historic homes, apartments, and townhouses that blend with restaurants, retail, office, and institutional uses. The avenue's streetscape showcases a blend of architecture ranging from the styles of the 1890s to the modern. The Art Deco facade of the NARO Theater coexists with the modern brick and glass of the Eastern Virginia Medical School Jones Institute.

Dotted throughout its length with generously landscaped stoops, balconies, and outdoor dining, Colley Avenue presents a welcoming pedestrian experience for everyone. The wide sidewalks of its commercial core host activity day and night as outdoor diners mingle with theater patrons and buskers who serenade them all.

In addition to Colley Avenue being designated a People's Choice Great Place, the following Great Places in America were also recognized in 2015:

2015 Great Neighborhoods

2015 Great Public Spaces

2015 Great Streets

For more information about APA's Great Places in America Program for 2015, and previous years, visit

For more about National Community Planning Month, visit

The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the art, science and profession of good planning — physical, economic, and social — so as to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, with almost 40,000 members worldwide in nearly 100 countries.


Lori Crouch, City of Norfolk,; 757-664-4067

Roberta Rewers, APA,; 312-786-6395