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Arlington will add 'pocket park'

 

February 7, 2018 | View PDF



A pocket park is likely coming to the downtown Arlington area after the city received about $46,000 in grant funding from the state.

The idea of a “pocket park” is to put in a small public park space near businesses which will help visitors have a place to rest and create a more aesthetically pleasing downtown.

The city hopes to “provide additional public space for visitors so they can sit and rest, and we want to make it a more vital downtown area,” said Sarah Lopez, community revitalization project manager for the city.

Mini-park spaces also tend to be beneficial to businesses in the area, she said.

“Experts agree that small public places like this help retail areas,” she said.

The park will go onto the Howell gas station property in the downtown area that was recently purchased by the city of Arlington.

“The area outside of the building is where we want to build our pocket park,” said Lopez.

The park will likely include new restrooms, benches, bike racks and a full-sized checkerboard pattern on the concrete there.

In particular it could be a good place for bicyclists to rest. “There could be a lot of bicycle parking for the area,” said Lopez.

The city hopes to start the park project sometime this spring and hopes to finish sometime this summer.

The building at the gas station property is planned to be turned into a maker space, which would provide a number of manufacturing tools for local innovators and entrepreneurs.

“We’ve also applied for a grant to remodel the exterior and interior of the building there,” said Lopez.

If they do receive that funding the city hopes to do the two projects together.

The maker space and pocket park initiatives are both continuing efforts from the America’s Best Communities plans.

“A couple of years ago as part of our America’s Best Communities plan we made a goal of placing a pocket park in the downtown,” said Lopez.

When Arlington made it to the semi-finals of that competition they received some funds which they used to create a “pop-up park” to introduce the community to the idea of pocket parks and gather community opinion on what they would want.

“We got lots of good feedback and that’s how we created the basic plan for the pocket park,” said Lopez.

After looking at the feedback they came up with a concept and worked with the city’s park commission.

The funding was awarded after the Washington state legislature passed their capital funds budget recently.

That budget had been tied up as legislators were fighting on how exactly to pass it, so city officials weren’t sure if they were getting that grant funding until the budget finally passed.

The grant comes from the Washington State Department of Commerce Local and Community Project Fund.

 

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