Garden of the Gods Park has been designated one of 10 Great Public Spaces for 2011 by the American Planning Association (APA) under the organization's Great Places in America program. Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center (1805 N. 30th Street) will host a press conference and reception on Tuesday, October 4 at 11 a.m. to celebrate the designation.

“It’s an honor to be one of APA’s Great Places,” says Mayor Steve Bach. “Colorado Springs residents and the two million people that visit each year already know Garden of the Gods is a great place. This designation highlights the role the City and dedicated community members have played over the years in preserving the land where ancestors of the Ute Indians, lived many thousands of years ago.”

APA singled out Garden of the Gods Park for its 300 million years of geologic history, impressive array of dramatic rock formations, and its use as a habitat by species as diverse as dinosaurs and honey ants. The crown jewel of Colorado Springs' park system, Garden of the Gods Park features a landscape that continues to awe and inspire visitors.

“Garden of the Gods Park rivals any place anywhere in its cultural and spiritual significance, extensive earth history and pure majestic beauty. For thousands of years and still today, people have been drawn to the dramatic red rock formations at the foot of Pikes Peak to live and recreate,” said Jan Martin, of the Colorado Springs City Council.

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 offer better choices for where and how people work and live every day and are defined by many things including planning efforts, architectural styles, accessibility, and community involvement.

“Except for issues of ownership, Garden of the Gods would have been America’s second national park, a status it undoubtedly merited,” said APA Chief Executive Officer Paul Farmer, FAICP. “Its most recent master plan – which incorporates Ian McHarg’s Design with Nature principles – has reduced the potential for degradation and deterioration, ensuring that this magnificent landscape will be enjoyed by future generations.”

The nine other APA 2011 Great Public Spaces are:

  • Fairmount Park, Riverside, CA
  • Monument Circle, Indianapolis, IN
  • Gray's Lake Park, Des Moines, IA
  • Rice Park, St. Paul, MN
  • Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, Nashville, TN
  • Fair Park, Dallas, TX
  • Maymont, Richmond, VA
  • Point Defiance Park, Tacoma, WA
  • Milwaukee RiverWalk, Milwaukee, WI