RED LODGE — It’s got no traffic lights, but it’s got lots of character.
Simply put, that describes Broadway Avenue in Red Lodge, the first street in Montana to earn national recognition as one of the top 10 Great Streets for 2010.
The award was announced Thursday by the American Planning Association and will be officially celebrated in Red Lodge at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Pollard Hotel.
In earning the distinction, Broadway Avenue joins 40 Great Streets in 47 states named since 2007, when the APA initiated the Great Places in America program.
“This is the first place in Montana to be recognized by the APA,” said Forrest Sanderson, community development director in Red Lodge. “It’s a big deal for us and a big deal for Montana.”
The APA singled out Broadway Avenue for the way it fuses a rustic “Old West” character with modern commerce. The organization makes note of the town’s early mining days, which drew a potpourri of nationalities and artistic styles to the city.
The APA also recognizes more recent efforts, beginning with a 1983 restoration program aimed at invigorating Red Lodge’s lulled economy.
The town’s “Mainstreet to Mountains Rocky Fork Trail,” which connects Broadway Avenue to an 80-mile trail network, also earned kudos.
“Broadway Avenue in Red Lodge offers a unique combination of historic and modern charm,” Mayor Brian Roat said. “Maintaining this charm is subject to several goals and policy statements in our growth policy.”
Sanderson, who has served as city planner for the past 3ƒ years, also credits the 2008 growth policy for valuing the unique qualities that make Broadway Avenue one of the town’s greatest assets. He said he hopes the national distinction will encourage other communities to apply.
“There are other great streets and great places in Montana that are worthy for designation,” he said. “We would hope that they would be inspired by our success. It can be accomplished.”