The American Planning Association has released its annual list of Great Places in America, and Houston's Hermann Park has a prominent place on it. Hermann Park has been a favorite spot for Houstonians since its creation in 1914, and now this prestigious organization and the rest of the nation recognize its beauty and importance.
"Public spaces are essential as gathering places and recreational venues in our communities, and designing them to be innovative, multifunctional, and culturally beneficial requires thoughtful collaboration and planning," said Carol Rhea, F.A.I.C.P., president of A.P.A. "The Great Public Spaces of 2015 illustrate how to effectively create spaces that enhance the lives of residents and visitors alike, and we commend them on this tremendous achievement."
"We are honored that Hermann Park has received this designation," said Houston Mayor Annise Parker. "It is an iconic jewel that is a favorite of all Houstonians. We are thankful that the public private partnership that has worked to develop so many of these beautiful amenities has been recognized by the American Planning Association."
Hermann Park was originally gifted to the city by George H. Hermann in 1914. Its 445 acres of land are one of the most popular places visited by Houstonians year-round.
"This park is one of the places that make Houston such a unique and wonderful place to live," said Joe Turner, Director, Houston Parks and Recreation Department. "It is not only beautiful, but the amenities range from wild prairie to manicured gardens, with museums, entertainment venues, a world-class Zoo, and a mini-train, to boot."
"The revitalization of Hermann Park is a miracle of community engagement," said Doreen Stoller, Executive Director, Hermann Park Conservancy. "The park has become a place not just loved by the Houston community, but also supported by it, through institutions, corporations, and families."
As part of National Community Planning Month, A.P.A.'s Great Places in America program recognizes streets, neighborhoods, and public spaces in the United States that demonstrate exceptional character, quality, and planning that enrich their communities, facilitate economic growth, and inspire others around the country.
Hermann Park's 101 years have involved a great deal of development, carried out according to master plans by such famous landscape architects as Arthur Comey, Hare and Hare, and Laurie Olin.
The Houston Parks and Recreation Department is the steward for the park and the Hermann Park Conservancy has been its partner for the last 30 years of development. Today's park represents a diverse environment with a wide range of attractions, located in the heart of a busy, vibrant city. To be on the Great Places list, it must have a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, a legacy of planning, and a vision for the future.