Shaker Heights has one of the country's greatest streets within city limits, the American Planning Association announced on Wednesday.
Shaker Boulevard was named an APA Great Street as part of the organization's 2012 Great Places in American series. The APA ranks Shaker's 6.75-mile stretch — from Woodhill Road in Cleveland to Beachwood City Park East near Interstate 271 — among the likes of Fifth Avenue in New York and Gay Street in Knoxville, Tenn.
"I thought was terrific, that was a real pleasure," Shaker Heights Mayor Earl Leiken said of the ranking. "We believe we have a strong national profile, and we think this confirms it."
Here's an excerpt of what the APA said about Shaker Boulevard:
Early 20th century mansions, transit service to downtown Cleveland that dates back more than 100 years, acres of parkland, and a tree-lined median make Shaker Boulevard a street that combines the historic with the modern. Anchoring the boulevard toward the west is Shaker Square, a charming, octagonal-shaped commercial district within the Cleveland city limits. Intersecting Shaker Boulevard at North Moreland Boulevard, it was developed in 1927 by real estate and railroad magnates O.P. and M.J. Van Sweringen as a gateway to their new Shaker Heights suburb.
The Great Streets program lists several characteristics of its winners, including character, personality, environment and use of sustainable practices.
"When I travel around the country, people have so often heard of Shaker Heights," Leiken said. "It just is a confirmation that it's a city that's well recognized, not just in our region or state, but nationwide."