NACOGDOCHES, Texas — The oldest town in Texas needs no validation for what people living there already know.
Nacogdoches is one of only six cities in Texas listed for The American Planning Association - Texas Chapter's 2019 'Great Places in Texas.'
Director of Planning Leo Mantey is one of the people responsible for submitting the city's application for the designation.
"I believe it was time that Nacogdoches applied for this," Mantey said. "I believe our downtown is great."
Downtown Nacogdoches is one of only six cities in Texas that made the list, which includes several big destinations:
- Downtown Nacogdoches - Nacogdoches, Texas (Great Neighborhood)
- Downtown Bastrop – Bastrop, Texas (Great Neighborhood)
- Levitt Pavilion - Arlington, Texas (Great Public Space)
- Discovery Green - Houston, Texas (Great Public Space)
- San Jacinto Plaza – El Paso, Texas (Great Public Space)
- Hill Country Mile – Boerne, Texas (Great Street)
A big reason for the designation is the city's recent growth of the downtown area.
"I have a lot of permit applications on my desk," Mantey said.
This includes everything from new restaurants and shops to diverse entertainment venues.
"It's location was just something we couldn't really argue about. It's just the perfect spot for us," business owner Jack Chandler said.
Chandler owns 'The Rusty Axe,' a new entertainment venue located in the downtown area.
He had been making axes and hatchets to sell for years, but recently decided to get into the recreational side of the business.
"We wanted something indoors year round and an event that gives people excitement when they think about it," Chandler explained.
So what better place than the home of the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks?
"You know it just kind of blows your mind when you tell somebody that you're going to go out and do it," Chandler said.
Chandler said the city's new designation is good for business too.
"There’s a lot of people here that work very hard to make sure that all the people that visit Nacogdoches have a unique experience, something they go home and talk to their friends and family about which drives tourism, which drives dollars into our community," Chandler explained.
It's an initiative the city hopes to expand on by spreading the word.
"Most people probably don't know about Nacogdoches. So, this is a way people will have heard about our city," Mantey said.