The Missouri Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) has announced the designation of four Great Places in Missouri in 2023: Linden Square, Gladstone; Downtown Square, Seymour; Main Street, St. Charles; Historic Downtown, Versailles.

APA Missouri recognized the 2023 Great Places in Missouri designees at a ceremony on March 1, 2023, in the State Capitol Rotunda in Jefferson City.

Linden Square, Gladstone

Great Public Space: Linden Square in Gladstone, MO

Linden Square in Gladstone, MO is honored as a Great Public Space in Missouri. The City of Gladstone for years dreamed of creating an “urban” walkable downtown environment with a mixture of uses to serve as a welcoming central gathering place for this suburban community. Linden Square includes a flexible lawn space in the center used for concert seating, for art fairs and festivals, and in the winter has been converted to a synthetic ice-skating rink for use by the community. It features an adjacent double-sided pavilion that serves as a large stage during concerts focused towards the amphitheater, a small stage during smaller choir or public speaking events focused towards the street, and as a warming house when the ice rink is in use. The City provides a robust series of programmed events and festivities in Linden Square including a summer concert series, annual Whiskey Fest and GladFest events, and the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting celebration. The City’s initiative to move forward with this project served as the catalytic moment in sparking the creation of their downtown district. It allowed other developers and investors to experience their vision, and peaked interest in forming partnerships to make other parts of the City’s downtown revitalization to become a reality. Since Linden Square, this district has seen investment in a new co-working facility, a four-story mixed-use office/education facility, new streetscape and angled parking enhancements, and a new hotel all within a few blocks. The creation of this public space has significantly enhanced the quality of life for Gladstone residents and visitors and offers a highly programmable flexible space that can adapt to meet the community’s growing needs today and in the future.

Downtown Square, Seymour

Great Public Space: Downtown Square in Seymore, MO

Downtown Square in Seymour, MO is honored as a Great Public Space in Missouri. The centrally located square is the economic center of the city, featuring a gazebo, mature native trees with vibrant seasonal colors, sidewalks, murals and full of supportive local businesses. Seymour’s Downtown Revitalization Plan, The Seeds for Downtown Success, consisted of community input and focused on eight topics with economic development within the square having the most significant impacts. By following the guidance of the plan, the square has truly become and will be an even greater place because of the increased public events, retention of local businesses, introduction of new businesses, improved lighting, landscaping, grant awards and increased in sale tax revenues. Since the introduction of the Revitalization Plan, the city has been able to work closely with local businesses leading to business and resident donations, which has amplified tourism and local sales. In the last two years Seymour has increased its social media presence, which has contributed to the introduction of nine new businesses, three business ownership changes, and two new businesses opening soon within the downtown square area including specialty shops such as coffee, ice cream, boutiques, a brewery, a tattoo parlor, and a salon. Prior to the plan the city hosted only a handful of traditional annual events such as, a Jeep Show and Shine, renowned Apple Festival, and a Trunk or Treat, but these events have increased to nearly two events each month, all of which have brought hundreds of residents and visitors together to gather at the square.

Main Street, St Charles

Great Street: Main Street St. Charles in St. Charles, MO

Main Street St. Charles in St. Charles, MO is honored as a Great Street in Missouri. Main Street St. Charles is rich with history, and at the same time is a living and breathing place where people live, work, and play. While many cities were using urban renewal programs to knock down buildings and construct parking lots, St. Charles preserved its history and reinvigorated Main Street as a focal point for the community. From these efforts multiple national and local historic districts were established. In the 1990s, in depth planning began to ensure the future of Main Street. The 2002 Comprehensive Plan said that Main Street was a key piece of the vision for St. Charles. In 2004, the Missouri Riverfront Plan described how Main Street could be a central component of enhancing the city’s connections with the Missouri River, adjacent neighborhoods, and the wider St. Louis region. Main Street St. Charles is home to diverse festivals and events throughout the year. Whether it’s joining the crowds at Riverfest or the Festival of the Little Hills in the summer, enjoying the spooky scenes of Legends and Lanterns in October, or experiencing the magic of the holidays with Christmas Traditions in December, Main Street St. Charles is alive with activity. During the week shoppers and diners frequent the many restaurants and boutiques. On weekends, families and out of town visitors spend time at the parks, the Historic State Capitol, or at the Farmer’s Market. Main Street St. Charles is a place for community members of all backgrounds to come together in a walkable and sustainable environment that will be treasured just as much a hundred years from now as it is today.

Historic Downtown, Versailles

Great Neighborhood: Historic Downtown in Versailles, MO

Historic Downtown in Versailles, Missouri is honored as a Great Neighborhood in Missouri. The City of Versailles recognizes the value of safe, connected, and enjoyable places to walk and bike. From safe routes to school to economic development to healthy living opportunities, active transportation networks can significantly impact Versailles’ residents and visitors’ quality of life. With the completion of the Versailles Bicycle and Pedestrian Master plan came momentum and excitement from the community. The city received a grant to implement much-needed pedestrian crossings and passed a ballot measure to vote for the stormwater drainage tax to be expanded to sidewalks paths curbs and for the city parks. Since then, new sidewalks have been constructed from the school to the beautiful downtown area. With the help of additional funding through Active Living Community of Practice, a new shared bike path that loops around the city and through the downtown area was installed. Additionally, new benches and bike racks were donated by the 100 Empowered Women group and Versailles Community Betterment. The benches were placed in the downtown area, as well as at local parks and other everyday destination in Versailles. Events are held yearly in the Historic Downtown area including the Versailles Old Tyme Apple Festival. In addition, events held in the downtown area include Christmas Around Versailles, Scare on the Square Halloween event, Made in Missouri Showcase, VCB Annual Ice Cream Social, and more. The Versailles Community Betterment with the help of their Commercial Beautification Committee painted buildings at Monroe and Newton streets in 2018, facilitated the Mural at the Bank of Versailles Building in 2018, and managed the front door-back door business cleanup in 2019 and 2020 in the downtown area.