SPARTANBURG – The number of downtown parks in America will increase dramatically this September.
Friday, September 19, 2008 is National Park(ing) Day, and public parking spots nationwide will become temporary public parks. The project is sponsored by The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national conservation nonprofit.
National Park(ing) Day is an annual event celebrating parks by creating temporary parks in public parking spaces. The goals, according to organizers, are to celebrate parks and promote the need for more parks in America’s cities.
Supporters in cities nationwide, including New York, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Washington D.C, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, have announced participation.
Spartanburg will join these cities, as the second municipality in South Carolina to participate in Park(ing) Day. In downtown Spartanburg, organizers will put together a uniquely landscaped Park(ing) park located adjacent to 127 East Main Street, near the corner of Church and Main Streets, from 11:30 – 1:30pm. The mini-park will provide downtown employees and visitors with a workday break. Seating, potted plants, and music will create a relaxing atmosphere for all. Story time will occur for anyone wishing to listen at 12:30pm.
“Only .0007% of Spartanburg County is open space and public lands. Access to open space is a vital component for our community’s quality of life,” said Cate Ryba, one of the event organizers and a city resident. “We want to help raise awareness of the issue, and add to the efforts of many organizations already working towards more open space and parkland in Spartanburg.”
Spartanburg area organizers hope that the event will grow, enticing neighboring cities to participate next year.
“I am excited about the momentum and energy in downtown Spartanburg,” said Laura Ringo, an organizer and resident of the downtown neighborhood Hampton Heights. “As part of the revitalization, I feel that it is important to remember that open space is a key factor for a thriving downtown. Park(ing) Day is a great way to remind our community and its leaders of this.”
Photos from other cities during last year’s event, as well as a full list of cities with maps and details is available online at www.tpl.org/parkingday.
In 2007, National Park(ing) Day spawned more than 200 new parks in more than fifty cities nationwide and around the world. See coverage from CNN.
Park(ing) Day Spartanburg is organized by a group of city residents interested in a variety of endeavors to enhance the quality of life in our city; these interests include Arts, Education, Historic Preservation, Economic Development, Active Living, Local Farming, Early Childhood Development and Tourism.