Thanks to Jessica Botelho-Urbanski and the Winnipeg Free Press for this feature on the Pop-Up Parks.
Learn more about the Pop-Ups by clicking HERE.
Read the article in the Winnipeg Free Press HERE.
Pop-Up Parks Gaining Ground
By: Jessica Botelho-Urbanski
The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ is angling to have pedestrians take back the streets this summer, as it plans for two pop-up parks and a party space in a back alley.
The Placemaking Pop-Up Initiatives cleared another hurdle at city hall this week, getting the nod from the executive policy committee for $38,000 in funding. (The financial donation still needs to get approval from council.)
Two pop-up parks will be installed in curbside lanes: one at Hargrave Street and Portage Avenue, the other at Kennedy Street and Graham Avenue. A third park could also pop up next year at Smith Street and Notre Dame Avenue, if all goes well, organizers said Thursday.
“When we surveyed the public, people said the same thing, which is: where are some places just for us to linger, to slow down, to sit, to have a coffee? The sidewalks are a little bit narrow,” Downtown BIZ chief executive officer Stefano Grande said, recalling last year’s Business Improvement Zone placemaking summit.
“We would be inviting everyone and anyone to use those (pop-up park) spaces, whether it’s for hammering out a report one afternoon if office workers want to do it outside, or whether it’s students that want to get together and string a guitar in the downtown in a safe place.”
The parks will include table tennis, chess, checkers — and more pianos like the BIZ installed around downtown a few years ago during the Juno Awards festival. They’ll also boast outdoor furniture — tables, chairs, planters and possibly green canopies — akin to streetside livingrooms.
Grande said the parks will temporarily bump three street parking stalls on Hargrave Street and a bus stop on Kennedy Street (which will be relocated). He expects the pop-ups to attract more foot traffic for local businesses.
The back alley behind Mountain Equipment Co-op (303 Portage Ave.) will also be transformed and strung with lights designed by Stantec Consulting. Renderings of the project (Cielo Raso), show the lights changing colour based on time of day and the space taking on different modes, whether for patios, parties or a combination of both.
The BIZ has put out a call for proposals for people who want to throw events in the lane. Grant money is available through their Host It Downtown events fund.
“You’ve got the Alt Hotel and you’ve got a cluster of restaurants and businesses that are starting up in that area, a tremendous amount of pedestrian activity. But yet there’s a back alley that’s a little bit dark, it’s a little bit grungy, it smells a little bit. How do we bring that to life?” Grande said.
“And how do we use that space to allow people again to be attracted to that space? To check it out, to sit down, to attend an event that will be programmed there… Something that’s cool, something that’s hip, something that says, ‘Yeah, our downtown’s got an edge to it.’
“Amazing things happen when people just slow down and do things,” he said. “I think it’s something that Winnipeggers are going to react to — particularly downtowners — in a positive way.”
About the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ
Especially for people who are downtown, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ is the friendly and hardworking host that improves the perception of downtown by providing a welcoming environment, keeping things clean and safe, and advocating for continuous and positive change.
Erica Urias, Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Cell – (204) 806-8923, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org