Freemason News

National Group Names West Freemason a Top 10 Great Neighborhood for 2013

Freemason Street Area Photo

West Freemason a Top 10 Great Neighborhood for 2013
Noted for Architecture, Local Activism, $150 Million Revitalization

The American Planning Association (APA) today announced the designation of the city’s West Freemason Neighborhood as one of 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2013. Each year during National Community Planning Month APA’s Great Places in America program names 30 exemplary neighborhoods, streets and public spaces to highlight the role planning and planners play in adding value to communities, including fostering economic growth and jobs.

APA singled out West Freemason for its historic Colonial architecture, community activism that prevented a proposed freeway through the neighborhood, planning efforts to protect the neighborhood’s character and identity, and ongoing revitalization efforts that increased property values in the neighborhood to more than $2 billion since 1990.

“This is a tremendous honor for the City of Norfolk and the West Freemason neighborhood,” said Mayor Paul D. Fraim. “Norfolk has worked hard to preserve our historic foundations while building on innovation. It’s what makes this city special and we’re thrilled the American Planning Association acknowledges our efforts,” he added.

“West Freemason offers a record of architecture dating back to Colonial times,” said APA Chief Executive Officer Paul Farmer, FAICP. “Residents recognized their neighborhood’s historical significance and, working with the city, secured measures that ensure West Freemason’s unique character remains intact,” he added.

West Freemason was the first neighborhood within Norfolk’s city limits to be rebuilt, in the late 1700s, after the city was nearly completely destroyed during the Revolutionary War. Responding to a proposal in the 1960s to build a waterfront freeway through the neighborhood, West Freemason’s residents worked together with local authorities to save the neighborhood’s historic infrastructure – including the city’s the oldest surviving cobblestone paving and granite curbs.