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Jacksonville’s First ‘Parklet’: Downtown Parking Space Transforms Into Outdoor Seating

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Andre Roman
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Downtown Vision CEO Jake Gordon presents the new parklet in front of The Brick Coffee House.

A downtown Jacksonville coffee house expanded its outdoor seating into a city parking spot in front of it Monday. The Brick Coffee House on Adams Street created what’s called a “parklet,” or a parking spot repurposed as something else. 

The parallel parking space is now a patio of sorts, with tables and chairs surrounded by wood and concrete barriers and plants. Michael Coleman happened to be passing by the parklet during its ribbon cutting ceremony Monday morning.

“I think it’s unique,” he said. “I think it’s something that makes it more modern looking here in Jacksonville.”

That jibes with the goal of nonprofit Downtown Vision, which began working on the parklet program last year. In March, Downtown Vision raised $15,000 to build this first one at The Brick.

The organization is partnering with the nonprofit Urban Land Institute, which won $15,000 Innovation Grant toward the project last year. Downtown Vision matched that with $15,000 of its own, separate from what it raised for the prototype, to research and create a parklet program manual for local businesses that are interested creating parklets of their own.

Downtown Vision CEO Jake Gordon says he hopes the new “pocket park” is just the first of many.

“We’re really using this one as a pilot for the Downtown Investment Authority, and also Urban Land Institute and DVI, to make sure that we understand all the ins and outs when we put out our manual,” he said.

The parklet program manual is forthcoming on the Downtown Vision website.

News intern Andre Roman can be reached at newsteam@wjct.org, or on Twitter @DreRadio.