Parking space in Cork city transformed into 'People's Parklet'

Parking space in Cork city transformed into 'People's Parklet'
The People's Parklet on Douglas Street

A parking space has been transformed into an oasis of calm in the heart of Cork’s inner city.

And it’s hoped the city’s first purpose-built parklet will pave the way for more public spaces of its kind across the city.

Champagne corks popped yesterday as the ‘People’s Parklet’ was officially opened on Douglas St.

In a space where once a car could park, a new public open amenity has been installed which combines elements of seating, green planting, art and bike parking.

City officials said the amenity outside the Cork Flower Studio offers an alternative experience of the city and the street, and provides an inviting space for residents and passers-by to sit, relax, linger and interact - to foster a sense of place, community and environment.

They also said they've been heartened by the reaction to it and expect to see a demand emerge for more in other areas.

“We would like to see more of these where there is local buy-in and support,” a spokesman said.

The parklet was proposed by the Cork Transport and Mobility Forum in an application to the city council’s €70,000 City Centre Placemaking Fund, which was launched earlier this year.

The council’s city centre coordinator, Paul McGuirk, said the parklet was just the kind of project they hoped would emerge from the fund.

“It was about finding and funding projects that would enhance peoples’ experience of the city centre. About 10 projects were approved out of 25 applications,” he said.

The parklet was designed by Siobhan Keogh, and built by a team led by Rory Drinan, with the support of Benchspace Cork, Mad about Cork, and the dynamic Douglas Street Business Association.

The day-to-day management of the parklet will be overseen by Justine Looney and her team at the Cork Flower Studio, with help from other members of the business association.

Parking space in Cork city transformed into 'People's Parklet'

It features a steel and timber frame cladded in Siberian larch, with seating for between 15 to 20 people, and planting space for pollinator-friendly plants.

David Scanell, a co-director of Benchspace, said about 200 man hours went into its construction.

"But it's designed so it can be broken down easily into six separate parts, transported easily and reinstalled somewhere else in the space of a few hours. It will age beautifully over its lifetime," he said.

And in a nice personal touch, Mr Scannell has planted some of his late grandfather, Paddy Scannell’s rosemary, which he grew in his garden in nearby Tower St and supplied to neighbours, in one of the parklet's planters, for people to pick and use at home.

The parklet will remain in place in Douglas St until September 29 before its relocation elsewhere.

Among the other successful applications to the placemaking fund were large murals at the entrance to Paul St car park, at the Cornmarket Centre and in Bishop Lucey Park, landscaping to the front of St Peter’s visitor centre, and the La Cocina Pública event, the mobile kitchen housed in a shipping container which brought people together through theatre, food and dining, which was held as part of the Midsummer festival.

A decorative street lighting project on North Main St is being finalised.

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