Congress Street has been named by the American Planning Association as one of the Ten Great Streets for 2014. Each October, during National Community Planning Month, APA’s Great Places in America program names 30 exemplary streets, neighborhoods and public spaces that add value to communities and foster economic growth and jobs.
Mayor Michael Brennan called Congress Street “the heart and soul of Portland’s downtown.”
Congress Street serves as the city’s primary east-west commercial and transportation axis. Dating back to the Revolutionary War, Congress Street features a mix of historical architectural styles, from 18th century Colonial, 19th century Federal to 20th century International and 21st century Post Modern, with examples of nearly every significant style of residential, commercial and civic architecture in between. Home to numerous art galleries, theaters, museums and schools, Congress Street benefited from federal urban renewal money in the 1970s that led to the rehabilitation of many of the street’s buildings over the next few decades – including The State Theater, Portland Museum of Art and The Children’s Museum of Maine.
More recently, Community Development Block Grant funds totaling $90,000 were allotted to façade improvements for three buildings along Congress Street, which property owners matched.
APA’s Great Streets, Great Neighborhoods and Great Public Spaces feature unique and authentic characteristics that have evolved from years of thoughtful and deliberate planning by residents, community leaders and planners. Since Great Places in America was launched in 2007, APA has designated 230 neighborhoods, streets and public spaces.