River Walk named Great Place in America
APA’s Great Places in America program recognizes streets, neighborhoods and public spaces that demonstrate exceptional character, quality and planning. Those attributes, the APA says, enrich communities, facilitate economic growth and inspire others around the country. The Great Neighborhoods, Great Streets and Great Public Spaces of 2017 are unique places that are exemplary in amenities and infrastructure, in cultural identity and in the use of sustainable and innovative practices.
“The Concho River is an absolute jewel,” Mayor Brenda Gunter said. “San Angelo has always known that. Now the rest of this great country does, as well. We hope this will spark an even greater interest among visitors to come see our River Walk … and all that San Angelo has to offer.
“The community can take a lot of pride in having invested in San Angelo’s signature asset,” she added. “The River Walk has been transformed into an engaging place to picnic with your family, to play with your kids, to stroll with your sweetie, to socialize with your neighbors and to celebrate with your community.”
APA President Cynthia Bowen agreed, noting the River Walk is among the places that “effectively create a sense of place that enhances the lives of all residents and visitors.”
While San Angelo has long been an economic and social hub for West Texas, residents and city officials believed more could be done to cement the city’s distinctiveness. In the mid-2000s, city officials had the passion and vision to harness one of the city’s greatest assets – the North Concho River. The River Walk improvement project developed its banks in a way that increased accessibility to both sides of the stream. In doing so, the city created a deepened sense of community and place, drawing tourists and sparking commercial activity. With plans to expand the Concho River Walk even further, the story of San Angelo’s reinvention may have only just begun.
The APA also recognized the following public spaces this year:
- Mill Creek Linear Park – Bakersfield, California
- Rosa Parks Circle – Grand Rapids, Michigan
- County Home Complex – Greenville, North Carolina
- Market Square – Knoxville, Tennessee
Since launching the Great Places in America program in 2007, APA has recognized 275 neighborhoods, streets and public spaces around the country. Designees 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 the future.
For the fourth year, the public can suggest their favorite public space, neighborhood or street to earn a “People’s Choice” designation. Throughout October, people can offer suggestions via APA’s social media channels using #APAgreatplaces. APA will select five finalists the public can vote on via APA’s website. The “People’s Choice” winner will be announced in early November.
For more information about these public spaces, as well as APA’s Great Public Spaces and Streets for 2017 and previous years, visit planning.org/greatplaces.
Planning & Development Services
While many cities are defined by large, iconic buildings, San Angelo distinguishes itself with vibrant neighborhoods. San Angelo's strength, diversity and vitality are all rooted in its neighborhoods, where pride and cultures are cherished and celebrated. Although each neighborhood has its own personality and distinct appeal, all of the neighborhoods demonstrate San Angelo's rich West Texas history, heritage and diversity.
The Planning & Development Services Department is responsible for preserving and maintaining San Angelo's historic, diverse neighborhoods by facilitating orderly growth and development. The department is comprised of the Office of the Director and three divisions.
Streamlining development processes is one of the City Council's five approved priorities. Learn more by clicking here.
The Planning Division assists and guides citizens and City leaders toward more productive, orderly and attractive patterns of physical and economic development that enhances the quality of life in San Angelo. The Planning Division serves as liaison to the Planning Commission, the Zoning Board of Adjustment and the Design & Historic Review Commission.
Building Permits & Inspections
Building Permits & Inspections Division serves and assists the public with various development-related projects through outstanding permitting and inspection services that protect the public's interest in property and the lives and safety of citizens. This goal is accomplished through achieving compliance with applicable codes through education and excellent customer service. This division also serves as liaison to the Construction Board of Adjustments & Appeals.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Division provides and maintains high-quality geospatial information to support the activities of the City of San Angelo. Efforts of the GIS allow for a higher level of service to its citizens and staff by assisting in the decision-making and planning processes.
The City's GIS mapping capabilities are utilized in all of these efforts, as well as in the management of city resources, amenities and properties.
Office of the Director
The office of the Director consists of five staff members who are responsible for the direction and administration of the Planning & Development Services Department, consisting of the Planning, Building Permits and Inspections, Geographic Information Systems, and Engineering Services divisions.
Additionally, this group provides direct support to the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) and the Downtown Development Commission (DDC). Other activities include the facilitation and management of land development processes, fostering partnerships with community groups and neighborhoods, collaboration with City departments and local officials, as well as oversight of special projects relating to community growth. Also, initiatives to streamline procedures, enhance customer experiences and manage special projects relating to downtown and to Lake Nasworthy are handled within this office.
Efforts to increase communication between the development community and City staff - for example, the creation of a Development Task Force - are a primary area of focus.
Other priorities include implementation of a downtown master development plan and a Lake Nasworthy area plan.
The downtown master development plan was presented to and approved by the Downtown Development Commission on Dec. 16, 2013 - and then presented to and approved by the City Council the following day. It, along with an analysis prepared in 2011 by City staff, will serve as guiding documents for revitalization within the Downtown Development District. An update to this plan, the City Center master development update, was approved by the Downtown Development Commission on May 12, 2015 - and then presented to and approved by the City Council on June 2, 2015.
The Lake Nasworthy area plan was presented to the City Council on Nov. 5, 2013, and approved 6-0 as an amendment to the city's comprehensive land use plan.