By Seth Daniel
City officials are preparing to place the first Park-Let in Everett Square outside the 8/10 Restaurant – a novel idea that is part of the overall effort to liven up the Square and make it more friendly to pedestrians.
The Park-Let is a new trend in urban landscaping and consists of putting a temporary park or gathering space on what is normally a parking spot.
Tony Sousa, of the Everett Planning Department, said the Everett Park-Let is open to the public, but considered mainly an amenity for the businesses in the area – particularly the 8/10, which asked for the Park-Let because it wanted outdoor seating but didn’t have the space on the sidewalk.
“This will be the first Park-Let in Everett, but hopefully the first of many,” he said. “It is something that enhances the streetscape and helps with place making. It acts as an active environment to support adjacent businesses.”
The new Park-Let is expected to be delivered some time next week, and it is about 15’ x 7’ – built in three sections for easy removal. There will be barriers in place, planters, likely some chairs and an umbrella and places to gather on the small space.
Sousa said he envisions lush plantings in the spring and summer, but for now, there will be fall-themed plantings in the Park-Let. The goal is to keep it out and in place until the snow arrives, then put it back in place in the spring.
“It’s definitely going to turn some heads and it will get people to want to check it out and explore the area,” said Sousa. “The time of year we’re in transition, so we’ll keep it through the fall. Next spring and summer will be a really great experience to see how many people explore it and how many businesses utilize it. Perhaps we’ll have requests for additional Park-Lets across the City. That’s the hope.”
A side story to the Park-Let is how it was constructed, through the mastery of George Lane and his Facilities Management Department.
Sousa said the City had the choice of buying a pre-fabricated Park-Let, but Lane and his crew said they could build a similar thing for less money.
Using sturdy white pine boards that were salvaged from the old Everett High School bleachers, they were able to build the structure of the Park-Let to a very high standard.
“The wood was stockpiled in the basement and no one was using it,” he said. “We were able to re-claim it and it looks very high-quality now and unique.”