The New Jersey Chapter of the American Planners Association has announced its 2021 Great Places in New Jersey designees, recognizing Montclair's Wellmont Arts Plaza on Bloomfield Avenue as a Great Public Space.

The organization cited the plaza as a “perfect placemaking example” that “transformed an underutilized public street into an even larger cultural destination and created a public space that promotes people’s health, happiness, and well-being.”

“It is really a great honor to receive this recognition from the American Planners Association,” Mayor Sean M. Spiller said in an announcement from the association. “The organization’s Great Public Space designation for the new Wellmont Arts Plaza acknowledges the tremendous work so many put in to create such a welcoming, beautiful space for residents and visitors to enjoy. Whether they come for performances on the open-air stage, view the art installations, or simply sit outdoors with friends, the new plaza offers the perfect environment for all these activities."

The 14,000-square-foot public pedestrian arts plaza is part of the $135 million, 2.5-acre Seymour Street redevelopment project, which broke ground in late 2018 and saw its grand opening in November.

Wellmont plaza gets its grand opening

At the heart of the new arts district is the historic Wellmont Theater. The plaza houses two permanent art installations, James Moore’s sculpture “Community” and “Willow,” a mural by Jenna Snyder Phillips.