Great Places in America: People's Choice

The 2019 People's Choice Is ...

Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park — Wilson, North Carolina

Congratulations to Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park in Wilson, North Carolina, for being selected as the 2019 Great Places in America "People's Choice"!

Whirligig Park is a one-of-a-kind art park that is the result of a grassroots effort to provide a permanent home for and conservation of 30 whirligigs created by the artist Vollis Simpson. The two-acre park hosts a farmers market, educational programs, and opportunities for family fun, and was also recognized this year as a Great Place by the APA North Carolina Chapter.

"The Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park is truly an awe-inspiring place; a community living room filled with thirty massive kinetic sculptures spinning in the wind, reflecting sparkling lights after dark, and drawing locals and visitors alike for leisure, education, and entertainment. ... This catalyst project, which took eight years to complete, was designed to bring the Wilson community together and spur economic revitalization and tourism in Historic Downtown Wilson." — Rodger Lentz, AICP

Also competing in the contest were Nicollet Commons Park in Burnsville, Minnesota, and Davis Square in Somerville, Massachusetts. Thanks to all who participated by suggesting great places and voting in the final poll.

2019 Nominees

Nicollet Commons Park — Burnsville, Minnesota

Davis Square — Somerville, Massachusetts


The 2018 People's Choice Was ...

Riverwalk • Tampa, Florida

A section of the Tampa Riverwalk near Kennedy Boulevard Plaza. Getty Images photo.

The Riverwalk has transformed the city and brought a valuable public space to the Tampa community. The vision of Tampa Riverwalk originated in the 1970s and has evolved through different plans and phases, ultimately taking six mayors and 40 years to complete.

The most recent development united the formerly disjointed segments of the path to create a single linear park along the Hillsborough River through the heart of downtown. As more people move to and visit Tampa's urban core, the Riverwalk provides opportunities for leisurely strolling, biking, and visiting the city's cultural attractions.

2018 Nominees

Uncas Leap Heritage Area • Norwich, Connecticut

Katy Trail • Missouri

Detroit Riverfront • Detroit, Michigan

Navy Yard/Capitol Riverfront • Washington, D.C.


Previous People's Choice Designees

See Previous Winners

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