ah flags 1st aveNew Brunswick, NJ – Downtown Atlantic Highlands has been named a Great Place in New Jersey for 2014 by the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-NJ).   Now in its third year, Great Places in New Jersey recognizes unique and exemplary downtowns, streets, neighborhoods and public spaces – four essential components of exceptional communities.  APA-NJ calls for nominations annually and receives submissions from municipalities, county governments, developers, other public and private organizations, and individuals.  Atlantic Highland’s nomination was submitted to APA-NJ by the Monmouth County Planning Board.


“Only four downtown locations have been chosen for the entire state of New Jersey,” said Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry, liaison to the County’s Division of Planning. “It is no surprise that the APA-NJ found an example of what a great downtown looks like in Monmouth County. Atlantic Highlands is an example of the convenience, beauty and community a great downtown should exemplify.”

 “First Avenue in Atlantic Highlands functions as the centerpiece in the everyday life of the community,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Gary J. Rich, Sr. “The downtown offers an array of places where people can come to conduct business as well as go shopping, meet with friends and family and relax.”

“We are very honored to not only be nominated for this prestigious award but to receive such a designation as a Great Place in New Jersey for 2014 is a reflection to our business community including the Chamber of Commerce and our municipal workforce who do a great job with maintaining downtown,” said Mayor Frederick J. Rast, III.  “Atlantic Highlands has so much to offer. You will find many variety shops, restaurants, our municipal harbor, fast ferry service to and from New York and a first class hotel. It’s a great place to live and visit with some many things to enjoy.” 

Mayor Rast added, “I would like to thank the Monmouth County Planning Board for recognizing and nominating our wonderful Borough and the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association for this great award recognizing Atlantic Highlands – a great place to live, work and play.”

            “Atlantic Highlands has proven that even a small community can create a downtown that is truly a Great Place,” said Linda E. Wills, AICP, APA-NJ Great Places Chair and one of this year’s Great Places in New Jersey judges.  “The judges were impressed by its distinctive local flavor that honors the Borough’s seafaring heritage, the volume and array of special events and programs, community involvement, and the connections to adjoining walking and hiking trails.”


Great Places in New Jersey is just one of the ways that APA-NJ will celebrate Community Planning Month in October (www.njplanning.org).  Community Planning Month is designed to recognize and celebrate the many residents, officials, and professionals who contribute to making great communities.

The 2014 designees, listed below, are not ranked.  For more information about the designees, the nomination guidelines and how to suggest a Great Place for 2015, please visit www.njplanning.org.


2014 Great Downtowns

Downtown Atlantic Highlands in Atlantic Highlands Borough, Monmouth County

Downtown Haddonfield in Haddonfield Borough, Camden County

Downtown Hammonton in Hammonton Town, Atlantic County

Downtown Summit in Summit City, Union County


2014 Great Public Spaces

Camden Waterfront in Camden City, Camden County

Hawk Rise Sanctuary in Linden City, Union County

Military Park in Newark City, Essex County

The American Planning Association-New Jersey Chapter is a not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. APA-NJ and its parent organization, the American Planning Association (APA), are dedicated to advancing the art, science and profession of good planning -- physical, economic, and social -- so as to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. Members of APA help create communities of lasting value and encourage civic leaders, business interests and citizens to play a meaningful role in creating communities that enrich people's lives. For more information, visit planning.org and njplanning.org.