WESTFIELD, NJ —The American Planning Association-New Jersey Chapter (APA-NJ) included Downtown Westfield as one of three downtowns to make its list of Great Places in New Jersey for 2013. The other two are Montclair Center in Montclair Township and Downtown Freehold in Freehold Borough.

Launched in 2012, Great Places in New Jersey recognizes unique and exemplary downtowns, streets, neighborhoods and public spaces – what it calls four essential components of exceptional communities. Downtown Westfield is honored in the program’s “Great Downtown” category, which is new this year. 

“It’s no accident that Downtown Westfield has continued to thrive even in times when other downtowns have struggled,” said APA-NJ President Charles Latini, Jr., AICP, in a press release. “Partnerships are essential to the success of any downtown; Westfield’s downtown management agency, the Downtown Westfield Corporation, works with the property owners, tenants, town government and volunteer groups to ensure the downtown remains vibrant.”

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“I am very proud of our downtown, with its charming layout, its storefront facades rich with architectural distinction and its wide variety of shops and restaurants, as well as all of the hard-working merchants, professionals, restaurateurs and proprietors who have chosen Westfield as their business home,” said Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky in that press release.

“We are thrilled with the affirmation that Downtown Westfield is a great place and thank the APA-NJ for this distinct honor,” added Sherry Cronin, executive director of the Downtown Westfield Corporation.

“Since our historic downtown was developed in the late 1880’s, it has always been the center of our community,” said Cronin. “Our staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly for the last 20 years to make Downtown Westfield a vibrant regional destination. With over 450 businesses within our district, we have much to offer shoppers, diners and visitors.”

“The Downtown is truly the centerpiece in the everyday life of this community,” said Linda E. Wills, AICP, APA-NJ Great Places Committee Chair and one of this year’s Great Places in New Jersey judges. “Moreover, its reputation for excellence extends well beyond the town’s borders and ensures a stable retail base.”

Great Places in New Jersey’s 2013 “Great Public Spaces”—the program’s other category—are Cooper River Park in Camden County and South Hoboken Waterfront in Hoboken City.