Park it in your Pocket!

      2 Comments on Park it in your Pocket!
Share This Article

The Month of July is National Park and Recreation Month in the United States. This month Rural Resurrection will have a series on Parks and Recreation (no, not the TV series). We’ll look at park improvements, different types of parks, and new ways to look at parks. Last week we looked at incrementalism in park development. Today we’ll take a look at a different type of park, pocket parks.

Every community has them. Small pieces of land that are not ideal for development. Whether by virtue of an odd shape, harsh topography, or limited size, there’s just no interest in developing it. It may be in a floodplain or have too much wetlands. There’s just certain pieces of property that are not ideal for development. However, they may be ideal for a pocket park.

Although pocket parks are not usually big enough to provide the amenities as the main parks in your park system, they are a good way to use unwanted land. Pocket parks can provide greenery, a place to sit and relax outdoors, and possibly some of the smaller amenities. They are a good way of providing greenspace in neighborhoods that might be farther away from the larger parks in the community.

Budget Friendly Greenspace

It is also important to consider that pocket parks can be relatively budget friendly. Due to their constraints, it is unlikely they are going to host a full-size playground. At most, you might put in a gazebo, rather than a full size picnic shelter. Maybe the park just needs to be seeded and a couple benches or chairs added.

The best part is, you don’t really need to pay a consultant to figure out what to do with the space. Depending on the challenges that the parcel faces, much of the improvements could possibly be completed without professional direction. Sometimes the hardest part is getting ideas on what to do.

Get Some Ideas

Even though your community may not have the budget of a larger city, it is a good idea to look at what they’ve done. Take for instance Alexandria, Virginia. As a city of over 144,000 residents, they had enough dedicated staffing to prepare their own plan to improve their pocket parks. Through their planning process, they developed improvement plans for 25 pocket parks in their community. Their Pocket Parks Improvement Plan 2020 provides a few different examples of how these spaces can be improved.

For instance, the plans for one of their parks calls for some Adirondack chairs for relaxing. Another plan calls for the installation of game tables. Others add bike amenities. The Alexandria city staff understood that there are a number of different things you can do in pocket parks, even with their size limitations. And there are many other viable ideas out there, it just takes some time perusing the various links provided by Google when searching. Don’t reinvent the wheel.

Make it Happen

You can use a consultant to design it or draw a sketch on a napkin. There may by budget funds for extensive improvements or just a bench and a couple planters. Regardless of the means you have available to you, the addition of pocket parks to your park system can be a substantial improvement to the community.

Sell others on the idea and get the ball rolling. Even if the community’s budget can’t handle the project, growing interest from others can open the pocketbook to get the pocket park built.

2 thoughts on “Park it in your Pocket!

  1. Pingback: Town Squares, the Park at the Center of it All - Rural Resurrection

  2. Pingback: Iowa Awarding Innovation - Rural Resurrection

Comments are closed.