“They are there to stay,” she said. “They’re on risers, so we could pick them up and store them, but the goal now is to leave them there.”
The project was funded with a combination of public and private funds, according to Grace McPhillips, the vice-chair of the College Park Main Street Association, a nonprofit. The association donated $15,000 and the city matched $25,000 raised from the community.
McPhillips said her organization and the city saw a need to support the numerous new eateries popping up along the bustling historic thoroughfare.
“It’s not a new concept, we just needed to figure out how to make it work for us,” said McPhillips, adding that she’s seen the benefits parklets can have on local businesses in other cities like Chicago.
College Park’s first parklet opened two weeks ago, with color-coded seating for the three restaurants it serves.
“It has definitely helped business,” said Jared Gonzalez, the kitchen manager of Johnny’s Chicken and Waffles, one of the participating restaurants. “From what we have seen so far, we really like it. We really appreciate it, that the city is letting us do it.”
College Park isn’t the first metro municipality to install parklets.
The city of Atlanta did so under its “placemaking program” in 2017 and currently has installed 12 parklets with another four planned for this fall.
“Our goal is to create vibrant public spaces in Atlanta,” said Vanessa Lira, the design assistant director of public space studio under the city’s planning department. “Our spaces should be accessible, sociable and aesthetically pleasing.”
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