Aberdeen Better Block
During our surveying period, community members mentioned that there was a lack of things to do for young adults, and that there was a lack of vibrancy along Main Street. This has led to something that is a fairly common occurrence in communities like Aberdeen: brain drain and youth flight. One last issue raised in surveys and in conversations was that individuals felt there were artificial barriers for community projects, which led to interesting ideas never coming to fruition.
To address these issues, Better Block and community members on the Aberdeen Better Block Committee created a series of interventions.
The parklets were a hit with kids. Not only did the kids enjoy the trampoline parklet and the mini-golf parklets, but their parents were able to enjoy the other aspects of the block. There were parents hanging out in the pop-up art gallery chatting with local artists while their kids played mini-golf in the parklet in front of the gallery. Other parents mingled with concert-goers while their kids jumped on the trampoline parklets. One of the refrains we heard from the artists was that much of the funding and many of the projects for art in Aberdeen felt very formal. The pop-up art gallery was successful in not just providing vibrancy along the block, but also providing an informal gathering place for artists in the community. Overall, the Aberdeen Better Block showed what was possible when community members came together to address issues in the public realm in downtown and the larger community issues. Moving forward, the community has the tools and materials to address other issues. The bandshell, parklets, benches, and more can easily be deployed in other areas in the community. But, more importantly, the community has the knowledge and connections to keep the work moving forward.