The city recently came a step closer to placing a pocket park in the Playhouse District.
According to Playhouse District Association Executive Director Brian Wallace, the city purchased commercial property on nearby Union Street which could eventually become a small park in the district.
Pocket parks are small green spaces in otherwise built-up neighborhoods. Urban theorists say it’s beneficial to have small spaces like these which are less than 20,000 square feet and can serve people living close by.
About 10 years ago city officials raved about the idea. In Los Angeles, 60 foreclosed homes were razed to make room for these types of miniature parks.
“The PDA welcomes the opportunity for new public space in the Playhouse District as a benefit for residents, workers, and visitors. We see a park at the Banner Bank site as hopefully the first in a series of public spaces that will enliven the district and make it an even more attractive place to do business, invest, and live. Pocket parks, plazas, and neighborhood parks each have unique abilities to create activity and add to livability, and the PDA looks forward to working with the City and stakeholders on this and other spaces,” Wallace said.
In 2016, the city’s Recreation and Parks Commission approved the methodology for selecting 21 possible sites as part of a 10-year project to create at least a dozen pocket parks citywide.
Pocket parks include small seating areas, planters and trees. On its website, the Playhouse District claims that if pocket parks are installed people will “Cluster, linger and stroll — and the district’s role as a cultural hub is enhanced with gardens, public art and performance space.”
The newest park would be built at 717 E. Union St. The City Council approved the purchase of the building in October for $3,155,000. Escrow is expected to close later this month.
The property is currently leased to the state of Washington-based bank and an additional tenant. The lease expires at the end of October.
Last year, the Playhouse District Association formed a special advisory committee on the subject of pocket parks in the area.