Parklet construction

Charles Kanwischer (from left), Ellen Fure Smith and Anthony Smith standing on a parklet that is under construction in the BGSU School of Art’s Integrated Studio.

The city's first parklets will be installed by Kabob It, Juniper Brewing Company and Grounds for Thought in downtown Bowling Green on Friday.

The parklets are being built by Ellen Fure Smith, artist and owner of Little Bare Furniture, with the assistance of faculty and staff from Bowling Green State University School of Art’s Integrated Studio.

“We were excited to help – Ellen was so persuasive on what a great addition parklets will be downtown. We hope to continue working with the city and downtown merchants on this project moving forward,” said Charles Kanwischer, director of the School of Art.

The School of Art’s Integrated Studio opened in 2016 as a “maker space” facility for physical and digital prototyping and production.

“I love our college town – and I feel so lucky that the School of Art and Charlie have partnered with us on this project,” Smith said. “We are already discussing ideas for the second batch of parklets next summer.”

Smith is part of the Parklet Project team, which launched a fundraising effort last month to help downtown businesses build and install the city’s first parklets. More than 60 individuals and businesses have contributed.

The Parklet Project has been a community effort. While Smith leads the build on BGSU’s campus, Sue Wolf and her team at Wolf’s Blooms and Berries are planting the large planters that will add color to the three parklets. The parklets and planters will be loaded and transported downtown Friday by truck, a donation from Jim Palmer Excavating Inc.

Located in the parking lane adjacent to the curb, parklets are designed as an extension of the sidewalk. They have the potential to greatly increase outdoor dining options and gathering spaces downtown.

The latest business to join the Parklet Project is Kabob It, located on East Wooster Street.

“We love our customers and are running out of space in the store. The parklet is a great solution for us, and will make our street livelier,” said Zach Baroudi, owner of Kabob It.

Legislation to permit parklets downtown was passed by Bowling Green Council in April. The city’s program permits parklets to be in place downtown April through November.

Parklet Project members include Smith, Chris Mowen, Tony Vetter, Jeff Dennis and Rachel Phipps.

The group has partnered with the Downtown BG Foundation to accept donations. Anyone wishing to support the Parklet Project can do so online or by sending a contribution to “Downtown Foundation, Inc. – Parklets” c/o Jeff Dennis, PO Box 406, Bowling Green, Ohio 43402. More information is available at downtownbgohio.org/parklet-project.

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