A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Not a little park, but a parklet

Written April 28th, 2016 by Hasso Hering
Meant for resting, not parking bikes, this space is about to undergo a change.

Meant for resting, not parking bikes, this space is about to undergo a change.

Thirty-six years ago the First Interstate Bank in Albany furnished this wide spot in the sidewalk in front of its parking lot on First Avenue in case any downtown pedestrian wanted to pause and take a load off. Now, with the consent of Wells Fargo, the Albany Downtown Association plans to turn the space into a “parklet.”

The design for the redecorated space calls for more places to sit, chunks of sawn-off tree trunks placed like coffee tables, game boards for checkers, and even a couple of tall cedars in pots. The idea is to make it a pleasant spot to sit when the weather is fine, maybe read or chat with a friend, and yes, even challenge someone to a game if they have the time. In the fall, the furnishings will be removed.

A rendering of the redesign as envisioned by architect Christina Larson.

A rendering of the redesign as envisioned by architect Christina Larson.

Peggy Burris, the executive director of the downtown association, sees parklets as another way to make downtown interesting and attractive to visitors and residents alike.

A plaque on the wall reminds us of a former bank and its good intentions.

A plaque on the wall reminds us of a former bank and its good intentions.

Parklets plural? Yes, after creating the one on First this summer, hopefully by June, the association hopes to have a second one next year on part of what used to be called the Broadalbin Promenade, now officially the Broadalbin sidewalk extension. That would be near the outdoor eating area of the Vault 244 restaurant.

The association is paying for the parklets out of its budget, an estimated $4,000 for the Wells Fargo space and perhaps $6,000 for the Broadalbin job in 2017. In both cases, the additions to the available space were designed by architect Christina Larson, whose firm, Varitone Architecture, has its office downtown. Last week, Burris and Larson pitched their idea to the board of CARA, the downtown urban renewal area. They didn’t want or ask for money. What they wanted instead, and got, was the board’s encouragement to go ahead. (hh)


10 responses to “Not a little park, but a parklet”

  1. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    I suppose Albany residents should feel good that the ADA (a private, non-profit organization) chose not to double dip by asking CARA for the money.

    The city already gives the ADA about $45,000 a year from the city’s hotel tax. That should more than cover the $10,000 cost of the parklets.

  2. hj.anony1 says:

    A touch of “hip”. A touch of “cool”. I like it. Seems to me it’s about downtown community and livability. Be careful what you wish for though. Downtown Albany may wide up with a Starbucks on every corner. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE coffee but this reminds me of the downtown areas in the large cities to our North.

    Switching gears….
    HH, is today the day you write/post about Tom C’s recent legal smackdown?

    • Hasso Hering says:

      Maybe, maybe not…

      • Gordon L. Shadle says:

        Is today the day you end spineless anonymity on your blog and require every commenter to post using their real name?

          • centrist says:

            HH thanks
            Would consider a name change to “Rigid Anonymous” or “Real Name” tho
            (wish I could find that sarcasm font)

          • hj.anony1 says:

            Oh Centrist,

            A hearty belly laugh on that one. Well done. May I suggest though, instead of sarcasm font simply put “sarcasm” in parenthesis after your well pointed statement. “Rigid Anonymous” still has me chuckling. Delicious!!

            I leave you with a quote …tonight. Good night.

            “A person who aims at nothing is sure to hit it.”

            – Anonymous

  3. Jim Engel says:

    Gracious, the other day wifey & I had to wait in line to get a seat on the Broadalbin Promenade! Wait.. sorry I was dreaming! Eight downtown parking spaces gone!! JE

  4. Elaine Creighton says:

    I think this is a wonderful idea, we need more of these.

  5. centrist says:

    By the way, when you post these local interest discoveries, I’m reminded of Doug Baker with the Oregon Journal. Brightens my day


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