Lincoln officials have long considered the Haymarket to be a great neighborhood, but now a national organization has officially bestowed that title on the redeveloped warehouse district.
The American Planning Association announced Wednesday that it had named the Haymarket one of its 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2009.
"We're very excited to single out the Haymarket as one of this year's great neighborhoods," the association's chief executive officer Paul Farmer said in a news release.
The planning association called the Haymarket "an exceptional example of a city's sustained commitment to historic preservation and adaptive reuse."
"The city of Lincoln is to be commended for its commitment and creative approach to ensure the neighborhood's historic buildings were protected despite not being named a national historic place," Farmer said.
Lincoln City Planner Ed Zimmer, who wrote the Haymarket's nomination on the recommendation of a planner in the private sector, said it's definitely a prestigious honor to be named a Great Neighborhood.
"There are only 30 (total) in the country. We're on a great list," Zimmer said, noting that this is only the third year of the American Planning Association's Great Neighborhoods awards. The Haymarket is the first Nebraska neighborhood to make the group's list.
He said he didn't know how many neighborhoods were nominated or whether it was unusual for a neighborhood to make the list on its first nomination.
Zimmer said the award is validation of the city's efforts to redevelop the Haymarket, which started as a retail and residential district in the 1860s but within a few years transitioned to warehouses and manufacturing.
The area fell into disrepair in the mid-20th century before the city started formal efforts to redevelop it in the early 1980s.
Zimmer said those efforts would not have been successful without private developers, who have helped transform the area into a place filled with restaurants and bars, performing arts venues and places for people to live and work.
"It's very, very much a community-type effort," he said.
Reach Matt Olberding at 473-2647 or email@example.com.