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.
The Public Information Office operates and maintains SATV (Suddenlink cable channel 17), the City's website and its social media sites; assists the media with City-related reports; and writes and distributes press releases.
Public Information is also responsible for the photography and videography for the City, which includes recording board meetings, events, municipal commercials, special videos and more. Additionally, Public Information answers inquiries from the public daily.
Call the Public Information Office at 325-481-2727 if you have questions about San Angelo's municipal government.
The Public Information Office won first- and second-place trophies against the largest cities in the state at the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers’ conference June 8.
The City won first place in the Public Service Announcement (Marketing) category for “I Do This for You: Officer Stephen Guevara.” The piece stars Guevara poignantly talking about why he became a San Angelo police officer. City Videographer Brian Groves produced the 73-second video with help from video intern Ethan Lankford and Angelo State University videographer Brandon Whitford.
The Public Information Office also won a second-place Award of Excellence in Public Service Announcement (Educational). “Fit City: Running” highlights some of San Angelo’s favorite running paths, including the Concho River walk, San Angelo State Park and the Red Arroyo Trail. Also produced by Groves, it featured Public Information Officer Anthony Wilson, his wife Christina and Finance Director Tina Dierschke, footage by Lankford, and drone shots by A.J. Deardorff, the City’s Informational Technology network engineer.
Both awards were for cities of at least 100,000 people. The videos can be viewed at youtube.com/CityofSanAngeloTx.
“Brian is a TAMIO rock star,” Wilson said. “That status is well-deserved. His technique is impeccable, his approach is cinematic and his storytelling is compelling. San Angelo and our City colleagues are endless sources of visual gold; Brian never fails to make them shine.”
Groves also served as a panelist for a session on video equipment and as a commentator during the conference’s film festival highlighting top works by municipal videographers.
Wilson spoke about broadcasting City Council meetings live on Facebook during two sessions. San Angelo is the first Texas city to do so. The City of San Angelo-Public Information Facebook page has one of the state’s largest municipal followings with 25,000 likes. A TAMIO board member, Wilson also facilitated a session on drone regulations.
“That information professionals statewide look to a two-man office in San Angelo as a source of expertise and inspiration is amazing,” Wilson said. “We’re running with the big dogs. Or maybe, as my boss told me, they’re running with us.”
An affiliate of the Texas Municipal League, TAMIO provides professional development for public information officers, and promotes active cooperation and the exchange of information and ideas among its membership.
In February 2017, the Public Information Office won five advertising awards at the local American Advertising Awards banquet:
- Judge's Commendation: I Do This For You: Officer Stephen Guevara
- Judge's Commendation: Try Something New, San Angelo Parks
- Gold Award: I Do This For You: Officer Stephen Guevara
- Gold Award: Try Something New, San Angelo Parks
- Silver Award: Did Your Butt Start This Fire?