Canteen at 33rd & Bryant is slated to host one of the city’s first “parklets,” which is a mini park installed over street parking spaces.
The 6-by-21-foot parklet would stand next to the curb on Bryant Avenue. Drawers built into benches could hold art supplies, paper and crayons. Neighbors could fill custom planter boxes alongside kids in Bryant Park after-school programs.
“We want everybody to feel like this is theirs,” said Jono Cowgill of Art Parx.
Cowgill and Sarah Sularz, University of Minnesota grad students who live in the neighborhood, are coordinating the parklet plans. They formed Art Parx as part of Springboard for the Arts’ incubator program.
Depending on fundraising, Sularz said she could design a bike station with a bike pump and ongoing workshops. She’d love to create a tiered planter that can rotate and accommodate both shade-tolerant and sun-loving plants, if money is available.
The CARAG neighborhood has donated $3,000 to the project, and a May 8 fundraiser will take place 7-10 p.m. at Canteen. The fundraiser includes $10 raffle tickets for items like a Northern Brewer starter home brew kit. Members of the band Hustle Rose will perform, and interactive boards will seek more ideas for the parklet. Art Parx is also looking to raise $3,000 at gofundme.com.
The parklet is designed to be a permanent feature at Canteen during warm weather, but it would also be portable. CARAG has the opportunity to pack up the parklet and move it to other spots in the neighborhood.
Cowgill said he thinks the community will see many benefits from the parklet: more eyes on the street, more community engagement, and perhaps a boost in pedestrian safety at the busy intersection.
He said they’re following San Francisco’s model for parklets, a program now in its fifth year. A 2014 San Francisco study of its parklets found they heightened neighborhood interaction. More than half of visitors biked or walked, according to the study, and 90 percent spent money while using a parklet.
“We’re following San Francisco in every way, with a toast bar and now a parklet,” joked Liz Abene, owner of Canteen (a coffeehouse famous for its toast bar).
The parklet grand opening is targeted for June.