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2009 Media Releases

Wednesday, October 7, 2009
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Mayor's Office. Tel. 402.441.7831;
Denny Johnson, APA, Tel. 202.349.1006;

American Planning Association Designates The Haymarket
One of Top 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2009

Reusing Historic Warehouses Spurs Additional Downtown Reinvestment

Lincoln, NE--The American Planning Association (APA) announced today that Lincoln's Haymarket has been designated one of 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2009 by APA's Great Places in America program. APA Great Places exemplify exceptional character and highlight the role planners and planning play in creating communities of lasting value. The Haymarket is the first Great Places in America designation in Nebraska.

APA singled out the Haymarket as an exceptional example of a city's sustained commitment to historic preservation and adaptive reuse. The growth and investment in the Haymarket is the result of nearly three decades of planning and public-private partnerships. The Haymarket revitalization has been so successful; in fact, it is prompting the city to plan a major redevelopment in the adjacent rail yard/brownfield.

The Haymarket is a model urban place -unique, varied and fun. It also sets the bar high for the redevelopment of 'West Haymarket' next door," said Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler. "We plan to apply what we've learned about the power and importance of creative public-private partnering, creating spaces people enjoy and earth-friendly practices.

Through Great Places in America, APA recognizes unique and authentic characteristics found in three essential components of all communities-streets, neighborhoods and public spaces. APA Great Places offers better choices for where and how people work and live every day, places that are enjoyable, safe and desirable. Such places are defined by many characteristics, including architectural features, accessibility, functionality and community involvement.

"We're very excited to single out the Haymarket as one of this year's Great Neighborhoods," said APA Chief Executive Officer Paul Farmer, FAICP. "The City of Lincoln is to be commended for its commitment and creative approach to ensure the neighborhood's historic buildings were protected despite not being named a national historic place. I can't think of a better neighborhood that lives up to that famous saying, 'Where there is a will there is a way,'" he added.

The Haymarket was a residential and retail area when originally developed beginning in 1867. It transitioned into a wholesale and manufacturing district between 1880 and 1920. The area fell into disuse after the mid-20th century as America's transportation modes changed. The Haymarket did not start to revitalize until 1982, when the city designated an area within the neighborhood as Lincoln's first commercial historic district. In 1983, the Haymarket Redevelopment Plan provided a blueprint for public and private efforts to renew the neighborhood based on its unique history and sense of place.

Guided by the Plan for three decades, the city has upgraded public spaces and partnered with private owners on commercial and not-for-profit mixed-use projects. Financing mechanisms, including HUD grants and local tax increment financing, have been creatively packaged to implement project after project.

Today, the Haymarket attracts people not only 10 work, shop, play and relax but also 10 live. About 125 dwelling units are an important part of the neighborhood, and more are planned. The Haymarket is home to Nebraska's first brewpub, a weekly farmers market, art and antique galleries, performing arts venues and restaurants.

Given the Haymarket's close proximity to the University of Nebraska's main campus and the traditional downtown, the neighborhood attracts the college crowd, employees, local residents and regional visitors.

For all of its successes, the Haymarket remains a work-in-progress. Within the district, there are buildings awaiting rehabilitation and under-utilized sites, all in need of sensitive design and sensible uses. The redevelopment of the adjacent rail yard with an arena and related hotels, shops and residences is envisioned to apply the Haymarket principles to a brown field site.

The nine other APA 2009 Great Neighborhoods are:

For more information about these neighborhoods, as well as lists of the 2009 APA 10 Great Streets and 10 Great Public Spaces, visit

This year's Great Places in America will be celebrated as part of APA's National Community Planning Month in October 2009; for more about the special month, visit

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