Updated December 30, 2019 - 1:59 pm
Parking spaces aren’t just for vehicles anymore.
Henderson wants to transform a handful of single parking spaces along Water Street into miniature parks called parklets — likely, starting in July.
The city would allow parklets to stay up for six to 12 months. It’s one of the initiatives underway to transform Water Street — historically considered the center of town — as new businesses and housing come to the area.
“We’re trying to be very forward-thinking with our planning of downtown Henderson with the Water Street District,” said Tiffany Reardon, Henderson redevelopment spokeswoman.
The miniature parks will be used either as community space or as spots where a business could serve food and beverages. They’ll be sponsored and maintained by businesses or local designers.
Parklets will only be on Water Street, Reardon said, adding, “a lot of feeder streets just don’t have the space for it.”
The city doesn’t have a specific number of parklets in mind. It will depend on traffic flow, given that the miniature parks can’t be too close to an intersection, Reardon said, in order to ensure public safety.
The city is looking at having a prototype of a base for parklets that has drainage, Reardon said.
“It might be able to be updated and relocated after that,” he said.
The idea to create miniature parks arose after Henderson’s PARK(ing) Day event in late October. Three parklets were set up for five days, and residents were encouraged to visit them and vote for their favorite via the city’s social media accounts.
The event coincided with National Community Planning Month in October. Water Street was also named that month as one of the 2019 “Great Places in America” by the American Planning Association.
“We were kind of tying it all together,” Reardon said.
There was a lot of interest in the PARK(ing) Day event, she said, so the city is considering turning it into an annual offering.
Origins of PARK(ing) Day
PARK(ing) Day is an international event started in 2005 by a team from Rebar Art and Design Studio in San Francisco. Organizers set up a miniature park in a parking spot.
“They noticed within minutes that there was a lot of interaction,” Reardon said, and people were stopping by to eat lunch or relax in the shade.
Now, communities around the world set up parklets each year for the event on the third Friday of September.
During Henderson’s PARK(ing) Day in October — which didn’t coincide with the worldwide event — the winning miniature park was designed by TSK Architects and Lage Design. It spanned 7 feet, 8 inches by 28 feet and featured artificial turf, potted plants and a tree, benches, a table and chairs. The planters and benches were made using reclaimed wood.
Another parklet was a collaboration with Henderson’s Arts and Cultural Advisory Council and featured a pop-up library with books donated by Henderson Libraries, Reardon said.
The third parklet, outside Hardway 8 sports bar, was designed by UNLV landscape architecture students. It’s a busy area of Water Street, Reardon said, so there was a lot of pedestrian traffic.
Windom Kimsey, CEO of TSK Architects and a member of Henderson’s Arts and Cultural Advisory Council, said he has traveled frequently to Santa Monica and Venice, California, where he has seen parklets.
“They’ve done some really cool ones,” he said.
He said he broached the idea of parkets on Water Street — which has parallel parking that can accommodate the project — with the city. TSK Architects has an office on Water Street.
The street is already walkable, but parklets would add the “green element,” Kimsey said. “A little breathing space from asphalt is a good thing.”
Kimsey said he’d like to see several parklets on Water Street that provide relief for customers — a place to sit, eat, read or enjoy a cup of coffee.
“I think it just enriches the urban fabric of a downtown to have these parks,” he said.
TSK Architects already has “grandiose ideas” for a parklet, Kimsey said.
“We’re ready when the city’s ready,” he said.
Interested in creating a parklet?
Businesses and designers interested in getting involved with the parklet project are encouraged to call the Henderson Redevelopment Agency at 702-267-1515.
Parklets are among a number of revitalization projects underway in the Water Street District and surrounding area, including a new ice arena, a Google data center, new businesses and housing.
In June, the Vegas Golden Knights and city of Henderson held a ceremony to launch their partnership to build a community ice arena, expected to cost at least $25 million. The city will contribute $10.7 million.
The facility will occupy the space that previously housed the Henderson Convention Center, which was demolished, at Water Street and Atlantic Avenue.
The Google data center is a $600 million project on Warm Springs Road west of Boulder Highway.