Huntington’s Ritter Park was named one of 10 Great Public Spaces for 2012 by The American Planning Association’s Great Places in America program.
APA singled out Ritter Park for its design, recreational and cultural amenities and its integration into a national historic district with grand homes that represent some of the most popular architectural styles from 1913 to 1940.
The 100-plus acre park features both seasonal and year-round activities and is one of the city’s most frequented locales, attracting residents and tourists from the region.
Kevin Brady, executive director of the Greater Huntington Park and Recreation District, said he’s not surprised by the designation.
“Ritter Park has been deemed the crown jewel of the Greater Huntington Park and Recreation District and is the most popular, most utilized park in Huntington,” he said. “Each day, walkers, joggers and dog walkers can be seen enjoying the crushed limestone trail.
“Evenings and weekends, the Ritter Park Tennis Center is filled with activity, the nationally renowned Ritter Park Rose Garden is a quiet place to be surrounded by beauty. Huntington’s PetSafe Dog Park has been a huge success since its opening on June 16.”
APA Chief Executive Officer Paul Farmer said the park is a good example of a space integrating positive qualities.
“Ritter Park demonstrates how a public space, through its design and attractions, can serve diverse interests and provide a range of experiences,” Farmer said. “It also illustrates how a well-planned park can influence and add value to the homes and properties that surround it.”
Brady said the park is a valued area of the city.
“Residents of the Tri-State area and visitors from all around consider Ritter Park one of the most beautiful and historic places in the region,” he said.
Ritter Park, which dates to the 1930s, also is home to a children’s playground, amphitheater, outdoor railroad museum and historic log cabin. The park was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.
The nine other APA 2012 Great Public Spaces are: Bienville Square, Mobile, Ala.; Cesar Chavez Park and Plaza, Sacramento, Calif.; Washington Park, Denver, Col.; Chicago Botanic Garden, Chicago; Chicago Union Station, Chicago; Jackson Square, New Orleans, La.; Village Green, Bar Harbor, Mich.; Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland, Ore.; and Buffalo Bayou, Houston.
For more information, visit planning.org/greatplaces.