FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jaimie Garnett, Executive Vice President of Strategic Communications
POP-UP PARK IN URBAN CORE TO BE REIMAGINED
Park, which transformed vibrancy of Douglas Avenue, to close in order to reimagine space
Wichita, KS – August 20, 2020 - in 2015, the Pop-Up Park at 121 E. Douglas Ave. was built to challenge the way our community thinks about public space. Working together, multiple community partners developed it as a temporary gathering space using various non-permanent and flexible materials, fixtures and vibrant art. Immediately upon opening the community embraced the park, and it became a destination to grab a bite to eat outside, gather with friends and co-workers and attend outdoor community events throughout the year, providing a sense of place.
After five years, the partners who built the park (Knight Foundation Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation, Bokeh Development, Downtown Wichita) will work with the community to reimagine the space, with the primary goal of challenging ways to think about and use public space. Those who want to be part of the process can follow the ICT Pop-Up Urban Park on Facebook for updates.
The space the community knows as the Pop-Up Park will be closed on September 1. This will allow the time and effort of managing the park to be used in reimagining the space with the public.
Recently opened downtown public spaces are now serving a similar purpose to the original intent of the Pop-Up Park. A few blocks east down Douglas Avenue, Naftzger Park provides urban gathering space for the community and a place for food trucks. In addition, the redesign of Chester I. Lewis Reflection Square Park one block away from the current park location will provide a gathering space for the whole community.
Through multiple experimentations in the evolution of the temporary park, learnings included accessibility during busy and non-busy hours, different materials and how they adapted to the environment, and much more. The involvement and investment from the Knight Foundation Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation provided Downtown Wichita and partners the ability to experiment with the space. Bokeh Development, the owner of the space, was critical in providing inspiration and partnership in experimentation on behalf of the community.
The park had a positive economic impact in multiple ways. At the time of completion, the space was the only dedicated place for food trucks to serve in the city. By providing a dedicated location, and the aligned formation of the Wichita Food Truck Coalition, new policy was created at the City - which allowed the mobile food truck industry to flourish in our community. A number of food trucks have launched in Wichita and some have opened brick and mortar locations, creating jobs in the community. New events were held in the park and experiments with programming and placemaking created new memories for many residents in the community.
About Downtown Wichita
Downtown Wichita is a private 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that amplifies the energy, capital, and growth of Downtown by empowering residents, visitors, and businesses to explore the possibilities of our city’s core. Downtown Wichita is an affiliate of the Greater Wichita Partnership. Learn more at downtownwichita.org.