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Laura Street named one of 15 'Great Places' in U.S.

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(Photo by Melanie Homer)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Downtown Jacksonville's Laura Street was named one of the country's 15 Great Places that was made better by city planners.

The street that touches the Landing, City Hall and the Main Library got a pedestrian-friendly makeover a few years ago.

The Great Place honor comes from the American Planning Association, a group of thousands of city planners and officials.

"They're looking for places that are special," the association's First Coast Chapter chairman, Wiatt Bowers, told WJCT's Jessica Palombo.

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LISTEN: WJCT's report on Laura Street honors

Bowers said Jacksonville residents benefit from Laura Street's conversion from a one-way to a two-way street with wider sidewalks, more street parking and trees with lights. Those changes paved the way for more businesses and street festivals including the monthly Art Walk.

This month's, on Oct. 7, will be extra pedestrian-friendly, Bowers says.

"Next week, the entire street, from Hemming Park down to the Landing, will be closed and a pedestrian space," he says. "That's what makes it a great space."

He says Art Walk attendees will be invited to celebrate the Planning Association's Great Place designation at the event.