A new green spot offers a seat to passersby in the Kmart parking lot at Nicollet & Lake. The pop-up park will soon provide a free coffee hour in the morning and a busking hour at night for musicians. There are plans for yoga, Zumba, child reading hours and a Little Free Library. And more ideas are welcome.
“We really want the community to own the space,” said Aryca Myers, associate director of the Lyndale Neighborhood Association (LNA).
Myers said the idea stemmed from elderly and Somali community members who were looking for more green spaces.
“This is the densest part of the neighborhood, and also the least green,” Myers said.
Lyndale received a grant for the park from the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Blue Cross offers grants up to $20,000 (paid out of tobacco settlement dollars) for “Active Places Demonstration Projects.”
“If you have a great sidewalk it doesn’t matter if you don’t have anywhere to go,” said Sam Rockwell of the Center for Prevention.
The park will remain open through Oct. 4, if not longer.
“People have been really positive, and really curious,” Myers said. “If Kmart loves it and the people love it, we might extend it.”
While shopping for park furniture, the neighborhood association received a bit of sticker shock ($10,000 for two benches and four planters) so the staff and volunteers made their own. LNA President Robert Dahlstrom designed furniture and assembled the park with LNA Executive Director Brad Bourn and volunteers including Tim Cowdery, Janis Arnold, Yasmin Banishoraka and Sarah Super.
Kmart Manager Dan Lawler said the park is a successful partnership between the company and the neighborhood.
“It is great to see our employees, members, customers, and the community come together and enjoy the fall weather near our store,” he said in a statement.
A posted chalkboard will show the park schedule and solicit more ideas for the park.
A low-impact yoga class is slated for Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 6:30 p.m., hosted by the Isha Foundation.