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LAF's First Park(ing) Day Full of Fun Surprises

LAF celebrated Park(ing) Day in downtown DC on Sept 20, joining thousands around the world who showcased the power of parks by creating temporary parklets in metered parking spaces. Park(ing) Day 2013 saw at least 22 pop-up parks designed and built in DC by nonprofit organizations, design firms, businesses, and city agencies.

parkingday01LAF's park spanned two M St parking spaces.

LAF partnered with Valleycrest Landscape Companies to design and build a “light touch” space, in which all materials were borrowed, repurposed or on their way to a permanent home. Hay bales lined the park to create comfortable seating and shield visitors from traffic, while dogwoods and a street tree provided shade. Purple muhly grass destined for a park in Virginia framed the space, and caught visitors’ eyes from across the street with their distinctive color. The centerpiece of the installation was cornhole — a beanbag toss which lured many a downtown office worker into a break from their routine! 

parkingday05Visitors played dozens of games of cornhole.

More than 150 people spent time in the park during the Friday lunch hour, with hundreds more stopping to observe and photograph the space. For LAF staff, the most memorable part of the day was seeing the many different ways people chose to use the space.

Visitors played dozens of games of cornhole, making an impressive number of three point shots! LAF Executive Director Barbara Deutsch’s cornhole skills were showcased in this Park(ing) Day video report from the local NBC4 station. Bloggers, fellow designers, non-profit professionals, and environmental activists visited the space, many of whom toured the various temporary parks in the city.

parkingday03GW University students spent time sketching.

Patrons of a nearby food truck used the hay bale seating to enjoy ice cream and root beer floats. Several young families stopped by the space to take photos. An art class from George Washington University made a surprise visit, spending about a half an hour sketching the parklet, plantings, and surroundings.

Park visitors expressed how much they enjoyed seeing a bit of extra green in their city. Thanks to all who came by, and many many thanks to ValleyCrest Landscape Companies!

For more photos of the day’s festivities, visit LAF’s Flickr page.

For a social media play-by-play, check out LAF’s Storify summary.

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