Raleigh's first parklet nears completion
Posted January 27, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — Several parking spaces along Salisbury Street in downtown Raleigh represent a first for the City of Oaks.
The spaces are home to Raleigh’s first parklet – a miniature park designed to make the most of small public areas.
“The idea is to create a little urban oasis, to create a little bit of extra public space for folks to enjoy when they are downtown,” said Pam Blondin, owner of Deco Raleigh and sponsor of the parklet.
Parklets are nothing new in bigger cities such as San Francisco. Raleigh City Council approved the idea in 2013, allowing sponsors to pay to convert parking spaces into miniature parks.
“Let's celebrate creativity,” Blondin said. “Let's celebrate downtown Raleigh, create a gathering place for folks.”
Blondin worked with the North Carolina State University College of Design and raised more than $17,000 through a Kickstarter campaign to build the park, which is in front of her business. About $5,000 from the money raised on Kickstarter will be used to pay the city for the parking spots.
Construction started last year and isn’t quite finished yet. Blondin said the park should be open to the public by spring.
“We're even fantasizing about having solar power out here so someone could plug in their laptop or charge their phone,” Blondin said.
City officials say they are pleased with the way the first parklet is coming together, and organizers hope it's the start of something big downtown.
“The city is willing to experiment,” park designer Bob Massengale said. “It's looking at public land, which the street is in the public domain, in kind of a new way.”