Historic Northwest Rising
In West Palm Beach, Florida, we teamed up with another local event, Heart and Soul Festival, and took over half of the event space with green walkways, light posts, benches, and signage highlighting the historical significance of the neighborhood. We built a parklet, painted interactive street murals, and drew a crosswalk between the area's Sunset Lounge and park, and painted a basketball court on the other half of the street. An iconic tree sat in the middle of the lot, which we outfitted with string lights, lanterns, a tire swing, and a hammock. From the minute we put up the tire swing, there was a line of children from the neighborhood waiting to use it. A partnership with Kaboom landed the neighborhood with an Imagination Playground installation on the site, which was also popular with the young ones in the community.
The initial feedback from the community was overwhelmingly positive. Kids were asking how long the elements could stay, and offering to act as neighborhood watchmen so the basketball hoops didn’t get stolen (they did, unfortunately, along with most of the other elements.) Residents and business owners were encouraged by the fact that we came back and did what we said we were going to do, helping to restore some trust in the planning process and in the CRA’s initiatives moving forward. We also heard that simply visualizing the space as a park helped shift people’s view of the space as an unsafe, late night hangout for bar-goers to a healthy, community gathering place. Now, plans that call for a park in front of a nightclub don’t seem so outlandish after seeing the kids and families in the neighborhoods embrace it.