Richmond’s celebration of PARK(ing) Day — a worldwide event transforming parking spots in urban areas into green spaces for a day — could very well lead to the city’s very first parklet.
From 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday, officials with Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park turned a parking space in front of Kaleidoscope Coffee at 109 Park Place in Point Richmond into a green space.
The parklet featured artificial grass, wood chips and makeshift campfire that essentially brought urban dwellers into a campsite. Passersby who stopped by learned from NPS rangers about the many nearby parks and programs available to local residents. The event also promoted Richmond’s historical waterfront and Rosie the Riveter Visitor’s Center.
While the display served as a resource center for parks, it helped inspire the owner of Kaleidoscope Coffee to pursue a permanent parklet in that space. Owner Cassie Cushing says she is launching an effort to poll community members on ideas for a creative parklet.
She’s enlisting help from Kieron Slaughter, an urban fellow with NPS who had previously worked as project manager with the city of Richmond.
“In order to make something like this into a permanent parklet, they would go through a public process where they would involve the community to give input on the design and amenities,” Slaughter said. “Some parklets have lots of seating, some are more artistic, some have bicycle parking.”
Throughout Friday afternoon, curious passersby stopped by to speak with NPS officials. Toward the end of the event, Mayor Tom Butt and some of his staff members hung out at the parklet for a bit.
The NPS mission to raise awareness about the many local parks and open spaces in the region was a success.
“The nice thing here in Contra Costa County is that we have such a wealth of different open spaces managed by various agencies, so we have an opportunity to work together to provide those opportunities across jurisdictions,” said Tom Leatherman, general superintendent with NPS.