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Mill Creek Park awarded one of five 'Great Public Spaces' by American Planning Association

Mill Creek Park is seen in downtown Bakersfield, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

Mill Creek Park has been awarded as one of the top five "Great Public Spaces" in America by the American Planning Association, along with Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids, Michigan; the County Home Complex in Pitt County, North Carolina; Market Square in Knoxville, Tennessee; and San Angelo Concho River Walk in San Angelo, Texas.


These parks met all the criteria for what defines a "Great Public Space," including a welcoming environment, a unique architectural design, promotion of community involvement, reflecting local history, cleanliness and other unique special characteristics that make the park stand out.

Dianne Hoover with the Bakersfield Recreation and Parks Department said Mill Creek Park is one of the oldest parks in Bakersfield, starting off as just an area with a chain-link fence and a canal and growing into a 1.5-mile long park serving as a connection between neighborhoods from Golden State Highway to California Avenue.

The park has fountains, a covered bridge, which represents historic Bakersfield, the first fully accessible playground and a mill house. It serves as a connection to many popular spots across town, including McMurtrey Aquatic Center, the Ice Center, the Federal Court House and Sister City Gardens.

"In the future, we would like to connect a lot of the businesses downtown with linear walkways," said Hoover.

Recreation and Parks will accept the award at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at Mill Creek Park. The community is invited to attend.

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