Glendale hopes to revive downtown strip with a 'parklet'

Glendale officials plan to replace four parking spaces downtown with a 300-square-foot “parklet” — an open space they hope will reanimate a block scarred by a fire roughly two weeks ago.

The city plans to keep the parklet for a year and if it’s successful, devise a plan for similar transformation of other parking spaces.

While the space planned for the 200 block of North Brand Boulevard will be Glendale’s first parklet, other cities, such as neighboring Los Angeles, have already gone ahead with the idea.

“I think this is great,” said Councilman Frank Quintero. “Hopefully we’ll get to see little parks in other locations.”

The parklet is slated to front some businesses closed by a blaze that ripped through a multi-unit building on May 27. The businesses include Skaf’s Lebanese Cuisine and Regali Preciozo, a gift boutique. Both businesses are expected to be closed for months.

The Sedthee Thai restaurant, which was not impacted by the fire, will also be fronting the parklet.

“It should bring some vital energy to that block that unfortunately was taken away by that fire,” said Philippe Eskandar, a program specialist in the city’s Community Development Department.

The parklet is designed to feature open space surrounded by drought-tolerant plants and seating areas. Officials hope it will attract people to gather and engage in community activities.

Eskandar said the space could be used by community groups to host poetry readings or other events. The Library, Arts & Culture Department plans to place a “take-a-book-leave-a-book library,” a free library that encourages people to exchange reading materials.

Rye Baerg, chairman of Walk Bike Glendale, said the advocacy group is excited to offer bicycle safety or repair classes in the parklet.

“We think it would be great for activating the space downtown,” Baerg said.

Construction is set to begin on the $20,000 grant-funded project in coming weeks and be complete by the end of July.


Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.


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