Need more proof that Palafox Place has become a thriving thoroughfare? Here it is: Palafox Place is one of 10 “Great Streets in America for 2013,” according to the American Planning Association.
The independent, not-for-profit educational organization — affiliated with the American Institute of Certified Planners — named Palafox Place alongside streets in Philadelphia; Galveston, Texas; Honolulu; and Corning, N.Y., on its 2013 list.
“For hundreds of years, Palafox Street has been at the center of life in our city,” Mayor Ashton Hayward said in a news release. “Over the past three decades, our community has reinvested in Palafox Street and, as a result, Palafox has once again become the anchor to a thriving, vibrant downtown and a city in renaissance.”
The organization recognized the eight-block stretch from Wright Street to Main Street. Locals will note that Palafox Place addresses run from 1 to 400 south of Garden Street, so this honor additionally includes parts of North and South Palafox Street (from Wright Street to Garden Street and from Government Street to Main Street).
The selection cites the historic architecture and character of the street, as well as popular events such as Mardi Gras parades and the annual Pelican Drop on New Year’s Eve; management of public events and street closures by the Downtown Improvement Board; private investment, including the Al Fresco food trailer court; and a variety of planning and preservation achievements.
While enjoying a stroll from Palafox Pier to the intersection of Garden Street on Friday, Renat Greene and Stephanie Brazwell said that the combination of old and new businesses and architecture gives the street an identity unlike anywhere else.
“I like that as you wander around, you can see how it’s changed,” Greene said. “You have all this history in one place.”
Bryan McCarragher, a 28-year Pensacola resident, says the change in the area has been remarkable to watch.
“Ten years ago, it was a ghost town, but it sure has come alive,” he said. “There’s more entertainment, all different kinds of restaurants. If somebody who lived here 15 years ago came back to visit, they wouldn’t recognize it.”
Alan Gray with the City of Pensacola’s Planning Services Division said a community celebration of Palafox’s new designation will be at
2 p.m. Oct. 24 at the intersection of Garden Street and Palafox Place. Details of the event will be announced later.
Full details of the recognition can be found atwww.planning.org/great
places, along with the nine other streets on the unranked list. The organization also named 10 Great Neighborhoods and 10 Great Public Spaces in its recognitions, which were released Friday.