Student Society of Landscape Architecture demonstrates parklet

A parklet with seating and chalkboards was set up in Campustown. It will stay until April 28, 2013. The parklet was presented by the Iowa State Student Society of Landscape Architecture through the Department of Landscape Architecture.

Katie Grunewald

A parklet has been installed on Chamberlain Street to demonstrate a new urban design that could be available in Ames in the future.

The City of Ames collaborated with the Student Society of Landscape Architecture to bring a demonstration parklet to the Campustown business district.

A parklet is a parking space or spaces temporarily converted to a park to provide enhanced amenities such as green space or seating.

Parklets were first seen in San Francisco and have since become a growing trend around the country.

The parklet was installed April 21, 2013 on Chamberlain Street next to Ames Fire Department Station No. 2 and will remain through April 28.

The public is welcome to explore and comment on the parklet. Chalkboards and chalk have been incorporated into the design so guests can share their thoughts.

“We are extremely excited to implement this new concept in urban design into Ames and the Iowa State University community,” said Chris Riggert, Student Society of Landscape Architecture president.

“Parklets are community ventures, bringing together residents, local businesses and local government. Having a parklet available for people to explore in Campustown may spark more interest and further collaboration in the future. We believe these kinds of concepts could find a home in Ames.”

In designing the parklet, the society included bench seating, planters and chalkboards. The organization researched policy guidelines from other cities to address issues such as safety, storm water run-off and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“We encourage everyone to experience the parklet and leave some comments,” Riggert said. “Bringing this type of urban design to the street shows that innovation and creativity are supported in Ames.”

Before following through with the parklet, the society had to get approval to waive meter fees for the spots the parklet is located in.

At the April 9 meeting of the Ames City Council, members of group asked the council to waive meter fees for space 3.50 for the entire week.

During the meeting, city council member Jami Larson encouraged city council staff to help the organization promote the parklet demonstration by issuing press releases.

Larson also suggested that the council staff look at using parklets during other events, not just this one.