Tucson group, businesses preparing small 'parklet'

2014-01-20T00:00:00Z 2014-01-31T11:13:00Z Tucson group, businesses preparing small 'parklet'By Doug Kreutz Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Tucson’s first official “park-let” won’t be a place you’ll go for a 5-mile run or a big family-reunion picnic.

Why? Because the little — make that teensy-tiny — park at Sixth Avenue and Seventh Street north of downtown will be about the size of three vehicle parking spaces.

The nonprofit Living Streets Alliance group and two Tucson businesses — the Exo Roast Co. coffee house and the Tap & Bottle bar — are teaming up to raise money and spearhead work on “a pleasing little space,” said Emily Yetman, executive director of the alliance. The businesses are both next to the site of the planned park at 403 N. Sixth Ave.

“The whole idea is that it would be a small, quality space where people can sit, relax and meet other people in a shady, comfortable spot,” Yetman said. “We’re still developing the design,” which could include a raised deck with planters, tables, chairs, decorative elements and a rail or buffer between the site and passing traffic.

Tucson is already home to some small “pocket parks” created by neighborhood groups, but Yetman said the planned parklet would be on publicly owned Tucson property and be a public-private partnership. Approval of the plan by the city and securing of permits are in the works, she said.

“Many other cities have parklet programs,” Yetman said. “San Francisco, for example. Tucson is looking to establish its own program.”

PILOT PARKLET PROJECT

Ann Chanecka, bicycle and pedestrian program manager for Tucson, said that “because this is the first parklet, we’re kind of treating it as a pilot project. Because it’s in a public right of way (along Sixth Avenue), approval and permitting processes have to happen, and our safety folks have to approve it as far as safety standards.”

The site appears to be one well- suited for a parklet, Chanecka said.

“I think it can be a real good addition to our streetscape,” she said. “We have guidelines they have to meet with their design. When they give us the design, we’ll have to go through the approval process.”

Yetman said the alliance and the business operators are in the process of raising the $17,000 needed to permit, build and maintain the parklet.

The alliance website — www.livingstreetsalliance.org — has more information on the parklet and ways to contribute to its construction.

Contact reporter Doug Kreutz at dkreutz@azstarnet.com or at 573-4192. On Twitter: @DouglasKreutz

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