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Parklet Proposed for South Fourth Street

Walker Evans Walker Evans Parklet Proposed for South Fourth Street
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The temporary conversion of on-street metered parking spaces into public greenspace is not a new one. The national Park(ing) Day event launched in San Francisco in 2005, and Columbus officially took part in 2008 and 2009. Since then, the movement pushing for new Downtown greenspace has waned in part due to the completion of Columbus Commons and the Scioto Mile.

But a team of enthusiasts are ready to bring the idea back in a spot in need of additional pedestrian-friendly park space: South Fourth Street, which is home to Dirty Frank’s, 16 Bit Bar+Arcade, Little Palace and El Camino Inn.

“Whenever I go to San Francisco, I always visit a parklet,” says organizer Jess Mathews. “The parklet has become a destination for me. That’s what we want for parklets here. We want these creative public spaces to draw people and become destinations for people.”

Officially known as the ‘Columbus Parklet Project’, the pop-up greenspace would only displace two parking meter spots and would accommodate outdoor seating for a dozen people, providing additional patio space to the collection of restaurants and bars that now call this area home.

“The businesses also on that stretch of Fourth are all supportive of the project and plan to help with promoting as well,” says Mathews. “The health of cities relies on ‘street life’. The Short North has incredible street life but that can’t be the only neighborhood in the city with that kind of vibrancy. It needs to be sprinkled all over.”

The Fourth Street parklet would be a temporary installation, serving as a pilot project for a month upon launching in late May or early June.

“This is a great ‘quick to implement’ project to give people a taste,” explained Mathews. “During the month of the pilot, we will collect data and pictures so that as we approach other neighborhoods to expand the project, we have the ability to tell a story. Ideally, we’d like to see parklets as another ingredient used in creating long-term transformations on our streets.”

Organizers of the Columbus Parklet Project are still in the process of raising permit funding. One fundraiser held at 16-Bit in February raised “a really good chunk” of the money needed, according to Mathews. A second fundraiser is planned for April.

For more information on the project, visit www.facebook.com/columbusparkletproject.

Renderings by Brianne DeRolph.

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