Just heard back from the organizers of Cleveland’s Pop Up Pearl Better Block event, which took place in their Old Brooklyn area. The group added some great ideas to the mix including turning a parking lot into a skate park, and turning a vacant storefront into a spoken word venue.
Here’s more from the Project Services Coordinator, Christopher Lohr:
“Just wanted to let you know that Pop UP Pearl was a great success….we were lucky enough to catch the ONE dry day in weeks and everyone was really happy with the event. We teamed up for marketing with a cycling event the same day in Old Brooklyn, Pedal for Prizes, which also saw a great turnout (over 350 cyclists riding around the neighborhood….a great model if you guys are interested). We had a Pop Up Skate Park in a surface lot which was very popular, a Pop Up Shop with around 10 different vendors, Art House (a nearby arts education nonprofit) had an art studio, another vacant storefront became a “dynamic ascension” of spoken word, artists at work, and vendors. Our MetroHealth “stage” attracted all ages with a mix of singer/songwriter acoustic guitar, to the local elementary’s swing dance after school program, finally finishing with a couple indie rock and hip-hop groups. In a little-used parking lot at the MetroHealth campus we created a Pop Up Park and had hundreds sign a petition to make it permanent….and MetroHealth is on board with that. The week before the event, the City came through and restriped to add sharrows and remove a traffic lane and made it a permanent parking lane…. a step in the right direction for sure especially in a city with no concrete complete streets policy YET. Already we have seen many folks on bikes using the sharrows instead of the sidewalks, which is great. For the day we took over the parking lane and made it a cycle track of sorts (we need an education campaign about contra-flow riding…) that was heavily used. We even had 3 of our Cleveland food trucks show up to the event, Zydeco Bistro, Jibaro, and Oh Baby Cakes (cupcakes). All of the 35+ vendors are happy, the vacant storefronts are showing a lot of interest, and we are moving forward with a partnership with Cleveland Storefront Art, a volunteer group that gets great works of art in vacant storefronts.”
Hope to hear more on the project’s long-term effects on the area in the future. This is another great example of how the Better Block project inspires communities, and helps neighbors revision their area and learn to re-take their space to be more livable, active, and show the potential for economic revitalization .