Parks Build Cities
Let me start by writing that I love Spokane. It is an amazing place filled with the best people. But Cleveland comes in a close second for me.
When my husband and I lived in Cleveland, I was lucky enough to work for a small organization - ParkWorks. (Now known as LAND Studio.) ParkWorks was in many ways similar to the Parks Foundation, but with more staff and a city that desperately called for investment, ParkWorks developed a broader scope of work. We not only raised money for park investments, but we led the park projects ourselves. And then we developed and implemented park programming to keep those parks alive and used and contributing community assets.
One of the projects that I was involved in was the revitalization of Perk Park. Once a state of the art park, with painted concrete galore (insert 1970's flashback here...), Perk Park had become a terrific place for bad stuff to happen. Which wasn't at all what the neighbors, the business owners, the City or anyone wanted for the space.
Fast forward almost 10 years, and ParkWorks/LAND Studio had gathered together a public-private coalition of government entities, for-profit developers, concerned individuals and visionary foundations to rebuild the park and make it great again.
And Perk Park is now welcoming and glowing green space filled with public art and fascinating places to sit and reflect. Workers enjoy their lunches in the sun, neighbors fill it on evenings and weekends. Not so coincidentally, as Cleveland has invested in greenspaces downtown, they have seen an influx of residents eager for city living and businesses returning from the suburbs. What once was an empty neighborhood every night between 6 pm - 8 am and on weekends is now a vibrant space that calls people to come and enjoy.
And that is our vision for our parks here in Spokane. To fill our communities with life and keep us engaged and interacting. Just imagine...