Yet another reason to love our fair city- Waterfront Park.  This past Sunday, my family and I packed a picnic and headed for that very spot.  It was a beautiful afternoon with a generous breeze and just enough sun, just enough shade. Waterfront Park is great because it’s got something for everyone. You can join the kids and get soaked to the bone in one fountain or just up to the ankles in the other. There are swings on the pier and benches scattered through the trees for romantic rendezvous or just restful relaxation. And the views are extraordinary. My husband and son threw the ball, I lounged in the shade, tourists took photos, friends gathered, walking tours passed, locals read the paper, walked their dogs, waved to their neighbors.  It was a nice way to spend the afternoon.  I wasn’t surprised today to read that Waterfront Park has made the American Planning Association’s 2008 list of the nation’s 10 great public spaces.

The professional planning association announced the country’s 10 great neighborhoods, 10 great streets and 10 great public spaces today. The lists are part of the association’s Great Places in America program, launched in 2007 to recognize what the group considers the essential building blocks of great communities.

The American Planning Association selects places annually that represent the “gold standard” in terms of having a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement and a vision for tomorrow. They are places where people want to be. Way to go Charleston!

The winners of Great Places in America 2008 are not ranked but are listed alphabetically.

2008 Great Public Spaces in America:
•Central Park, New York City.
•Church Street Marketplace, Burlington, Vt.
•Mellon Square, Pittsburgh.
•Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland, Ore.
•Santa Monica Beach, Santa Monica, Calif.
•Union Station, Washington, D.C.
•Waterfront Park, Charleston
•Waterplace Park, Providence, R.I.
•West Side Market, Cleveland.
•Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza, Prescott, Ariz.

-Traci Magnus