The Missouri Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) honored four Great Places in Missouri in 2018: The Grove, St. Louis; Commercial Street, Springfield; Downtown Parkville, Parkville; and the Grand-Bates Neighborhood, St. Louis.

APA Missouri recognized the 2018 Great Places in Missouri designees at a ceremony on January 31, 2018 at 11 a.m. in the State Capitol Rotunda in Jefferson City.

Iconic Grove Sign, courtesy Ed Aller

The Grove (St. Louis)

The Grove in St. Louis is the recipient of the Great Street in Missouri award. This section of Manchester Avenue between Kingshighway and Vandeventer, has seen significant growth since 2008 due to the investment of local property owners and the work of the Grove Community Improvement District (CID). This street has benefited from the deliberate planning efforts targeted on fostering an active business, residential, and entertainment community. The Grove has flourished through the collaboration of the planners administering the Grove CID, the Board of Directors, and the Grove’s business and residential community. Both commercial and residential development has contributed to the exciting transformation of The Grove, where 90% of businesses are locally owned and over 25 new businesses have been created in the last five years. Additionally, the Grove has seen the development of hundreds of new residential units. Many of the historic buildings along the street have been rehabilitated with the help of the Missouri State Historic Tax Credit program and now provide mixed-use commercial and residential options. With over 30 public art pieces, community festivals such as Grove Fest, IndiHop, and the World Naked Bike Ride, and a true safe and inviting pedestrian experience, the Grove is an exceptional example of a Great Street in Missouri.

C-Street Pets and Pumpkins Festival, courtesy of Collette Studios

Historic C- Street (Springfield)

Historic C-Street (Commercial Street) in Springfield is the recipient of the Great Street in Missouri award. This six-block local and National Register Historic District corridor is located in the oldest part of Springfield.  It has always enjoyed the grassroots support of local businesses and property owners advocating for its preservation and pursuing resources and incentives for continued investment. The local merchants association, the Commercial Club, was established in 1930.  Local public art is displayed along the corridor, which is lined with infill redevelopment of renovated historic buildings. The street boasts a diverse range of locally owned art galleries, service organizations, flea markets, unique restaurants, shops, small offices, loft living, and small bars with live music venues. An iconic site on C-Street is the Historic Jefferson Avenue Footbridge, constructed in 1902, which spans thirteen tracks of the BNSF railyard. A Saturday open air market from April through October provides access to healthy foods and local wares, while a variety of annual street festivals throughout the year such as Pets and Pumpkins, Heroes and Holidays, and Summer Solstice Art Fair bring residents of all ages together. In 2009 the Commercial Street Community Improvement District was established and assists in maintenance and development of the corridor while residents and businesses have incorporated sustainable design and green development.   C-Street is a target area for the City’s Brownfields Program, helping to characterize and assess over 20 redevelopment properties. Historic C-Street truly epitomizes a great street as it brings people together to both preserve important historic assets but also plan for the future.

Downtown Parkville Fourth of July Parade

Downtown Parkville (Parkville

Downtown Parkville is the recipient of the Great Neighborhood in Missouri award. This historic riverfront neighborhood is the heart of the city of Parkville. Downtown is home to the historic train depot and power plant, a miniature golf amusement center, shops, restaurants, and riverfront parks and trails. In addition, the Parkville Farmer’s Market is also located downtown and held bi-weekly from June to September. Directly adjacent to Downtown is historic Park University, providing a beautiful backdrop to the thriving downtown area. The Main Street Parkville Association (MSPA), was formed following the flood of 1993 and has helped to preserve, maintain, and promote the downtown. Planning efforts, including the 2014 Vison Downtown Parkville, have enabled this neighborhood to flourish and provided guidance for future decision-making in the downtown. Downtown Parkville exemplifies a great neighborhood by encouraging new growth and amenities, while preserving the historic charm that is treasured by community members and visitors alike. 

Grand-Bates Neighborhood streetscape, courtesy of

Grand-Bates Neighborhood (St. Louis)

The Grand-Bates Neighborhood in St. Louis is the recipient of the Great Neighborhood in Missouri award. This beautiful, welcoming, and inclusive neighborhood of 1,400 residents is bordered by S. Grand Ave., Bates Street, I-55, and Holly Hills Boulevard. Grand-Bates touts an impressive diversity in home prices, enabling a true mixed-income community that contributes to building neighbor-to-neighbor relationships and vibrant neighborhood character. This century-old, brick homed-neighborhood is recognized in the National Register of Historic Places as a remarkable intact historic place. Planning has played a substantial role in Grand-Bates since the initial design of Bellerive Boulevard, an informally landscaped residential parkway designed by pioneer city planner and landscape architect George Kessler. This was designed as St. Louis’ only recreational driving boulevard. The residents of Grand-Bates take great pride in their neighborhood and regularly host community events such as the monthly Grand-Bates Dinner Club, the annual Bellerive Day garage sale, and neighborhood safety meetings. Volunteers promote neighborhood identity through a community website, social media, branded apparel, and flags. Grand-Bates is a shining example of a thriving neighborhood with preserved planning principles, active and engaged residents, and diverse housing and retail options. 

2018 Great Places in Missouri

Check out this video about the 2018 Great Places in Missouri! Thanks Carbon Trace Productions for another fantastic video! Nominate your favorite place in Missouri for a 2019 Great Place in Missouri. Nominations due December 1.

Posted by APA Missouri on Monday, October 29, 2018