Winnie Blackwood/For the Express
Officials pose in front of the newly installed parklet on Main Street in Gloversville Tuesday during a ribbon cutting ceremony. From left, David D’Amore, AIA principal architect at AND: Architecture and Design; Jennifer Voorhees, chairwoman of the Downtown Gloversville Business Improvement District; and Gloversville Mayor Dayton King.
By WINNIE BLACKWOOD
For the Express
GLOVERSVILLE — Community members and visitors of the city have a new space downtown to come together and socialize in the form of what is believed to be the region’s first installed parklet, or micro park.
The Downtown Gloversville Business Improvement District unveiled their parklet in the form of a ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday to celebrate its installation on Main Street.
A parklet is a sidewalk extension that allows for more room for those using the street to sit, eat and socialize. Parklets generally are the size of one parking space.
Jennifer Voorhees, the BID’s chairwoman and owner of The Still Pointe Acupuncture in Gloversville, said the parklet was created as a space downtown for people to and sit and relax, as well as to socialize with other community members and visit the businesses in the surrounding area. The parklet may also aid in traffic calming by slowing the flow of pedestrians down if it is high in the area, she noted.
“We’re hoping that people can enjoy it as they enjoy our district,” Voorhees said.
Voorhees approached the BID with the idea of installing a parklet after her vacation in Montreal, where there was many throughout the city.
“People were just having coffee and talking, or they would get their takeout and eat,” Voorhees said. “Then I thought, you know what this is a fantastic idea. It’s a small enough project that we can get it up and running quickly.”
Parklets have been installed in other areas, such as Times Square in New York City, said Gloversville Mayor Dayton King.
It is believed Gloversville is the first in the region to have an installed parklet. Those who have never seen one may be attracted to the area, King said.
“Any of this stuff will attract people who want to see change,” King said. “I think it’s going to keep moving us forward.”
Once the BID accepted Voorhees’ idea, the project took around six months to complete and cost $5,000. Fundraising was also done through a chili and beer festival for the parklet.
The parklet’s design was done by AND: Architecture and Design of Saratoga Springs, and its inspiration came from found objects that could be repurposed.
“The analogy is sort of like we’ve taken found objects from around the city, sort of rebuilt them into a little space that is a representation of the city,” said David D’Amore, AIA principal architect at AND. “With that we’ve created a sense of diversity and a sense of intimacy where the community can come and gather and be a part of something.”
Repurposed pallets make up the parklet. The benches are not just a place to sit, but Voorhees said they are functional art and a creative design.
“We want it to be successful and hope that Gloversville enjoys it while it’s here,” D’Amore said.
The parklet is located across from Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market on 30 N. Main St.