Chestnut Hill makes ‘Great Places in America’ list

Chestnut Hill was recognized this week as of one America’s Greatest Neighborhoods.

The American Planning Association bestowed the Northwest Philadelphia neighborhood with the national distinction during a public meeting on Tuesday.

“Chestnut Hill is just an abundance of riches,” said Denny Johnson, a spokesman for APA. “There’s just this long, long history of citizen engagement and recognition of the historic character of the neighborhood.”

The award is part of APA’s Great Places in America program, which, among other things, honors 10 neighborhoods each year that display “exemplary character, quality, and planning.” The national organization similarly selects 10 Great Streets and 10 Great Public Places.

Chestnut Hill became a candidate after it was nominated by the Philadelphia Planning Commission. Ceremonial plaques were handed out during one of the body’s regularly scheduled meetings.

The Chestnut Hill Business Association, Chestnut Hill Historical Society and the Chestnut Hill Community Association were each individually honored.

“What the award really recognizes is the very unusual and very gorgeous nature of the town and the process of protecting that through an active community process,” said Frank Niepold, president of the CHHS’ Board of Directors. “It’s delightful and wonderful.”

Society Hill, Rittenhouse Square, and eight blocks of South Broad Street from City Hall to South Street, were celebrated as part of the Great Places program in the past.

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