RENO, NV – Taking an under-used parking spot and turning it into a park. It is a concept that is already popular in cities like San Francisco and New York. It is a way to bring a natural setting back into the concrete jungle.
Reno’s first parklet was built Tuesday, September 8, 2015. Prior to that, it was simply a street parking spot on Martin Street in Midtown. Now, it is a miniature park where people can gather, have a beer, and enjoy the outdoors.
“There will be some more tables and chairs out here, there will be some nice umbrellas, some nice foliage and some trees,” said Ty Martin, owner of Craft Beer and Wine, and builder of Reno’s first parklet. “It is happening in other cities. San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle, Chicago.”
The big city concept, a way to get more people out and about, was greenlit by the Reno City Council in August.
“It is just an exciting opportunity. We are trying new things at the City of Reno and the parklet program is just the latest example,” said Dave Bobzien, Reno City Councilman. “it is a chance to kinda rebuild the neighborhood feel of some of the side streets that we have. But I think ultimately, through this pilot program that we have and what the city is doing to put together a process, we could see parklets and interest in parklets in other areas of the city.”
The only existing one right now is on Martin Street, but within a month expect to see an additional one in downtown Reno.
“We plan to start building it in a week or two. We’re raising funds for it right now,” said Matt McIver who designed the parklet planned for Roff Street.
Reno’s second parklet will be right outside Arlington Towers and will feature seating, planter boxes, bike racks, and scooter parking.
“It is going to be more of a work of art than just a park,” said McIver.
The Roff Street parklet has a dual purpose. The area has been plagued with robberies, vandalism, and vagrancy. Creators hope having more people in the area will drive the crime away.
“Getting some walkable traffic through here, then we are hoping it will deter some of the problems we have been having,” said Nellie Davis, who worked on the project with McIver.
The parklets are paid for entirely by business owners. They are actually creating a profit for the city because owners have to pay for permits to put one in place.
All parklets are open to the public.