Staunton’s West Beverly Street recognized as one of America’s Great Streets

great_placesPart of Staunton’s Main Street district was recently recognized as one of the 30 Great Places in America for 2013. The American Planning Association (APA) recognized West Beverly Street as one of America’s Great Streets.

According to their website, APA celebrates places of exemplary character, quality and planning. Places are selected 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.

APA Great Places offer better choices for where and how people work and live. They are enjoyable, safe and desirable. They are places where people want to be — not only to visit, but to live and work every day. America’s truly great streets, neighborhoods and public spaces are defined by many criteria, including architectural features, accessibility, functionality and community involvement.

West Beverly Street
Staunton, Virginia

Preserving a nine-block-long stretch of Victorian-era architecture is not easy. But early successes by preservation activists in the 1960s and 1970s in Staunton, Virginia were enough to fend off urban renewal and highway proposals that would have demolished hundreds of buildings. Today, West Beverly Street boasts more than 100 beautifully restored buildings, and a historic preservation tax credit has spurred $50 million in private investment since 2000. The city had the foresight in 1998 to bury electrical utilities to improve the streetscape and, more recently, the 2006 Historic District Overlay Ordinance and Guidelines address new and renovated structures, signage, lighting and site design along the historic street.

— Excerpted from Planning – The magazine of the American Planning Association

Learn more about West Beverly Street’s designation as one of America’s Great Streets here. And, learn about the Virginia Main Street communities previous Great Streets designee, Culpeper’s Davis Street (2011), here.