PARKERSBURG - Downtown Parkersburg will be transformed from streets into parks in September as part of the annual Park Day celebration.
The event, sponsored by the Parkersburg Bicycle Advisory Board, will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 14 along portions of Market Street. Parkersburg is one of a hundred communities in 30 countries planning to participate.
Park Day is an international event that encourages people to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into public parks and other social spaces. In place of cars, people are encouraged to come ride, skate, jump, play and dance in the street.
"Since 2011, Park Day has evolved into community block party of sorts in Parkersburg," said Kim Coram, chair of the Park Day Planning Committee and a Parkersburg City Council member. "A lot of activities are being planned."
Among the planned activities are a kids play zone, bike rodeo, fitness challenge, foodie tour, family-friendly tailgate party for the West Virginia University football game, guided bike tours, live music and the Pocket Park Contest.
"Park Day is more than just about promoting alternative modes of transportation. It is a great way to build community and rejuvenate downtown Parkersburg," said Rickie Yeager, city planner and Park Day Planning Committee member. "It allows us to showcase what's possible in the community."
In keeping with the event's original purpose, friends, family, clubs and nonprofit associations are encouraged to design a small park that will fit in a metered parking space on Market Street.
To participate in the contest, each park must have three design elements. They include a mock-up bike rack with a lockable surface, directional signage to a location in downtown Parkersburg (such as Point Park or the Farmers' Market) and landscaping of some type.
A panel of judges will visit each park and the winner will receive a $100 cash prize. Design elements from the winning park will be taken into consideration when new landscaping or bike facilities are installed in the city.
To participate in the third annual Pocket Park Contest, visit www.parkersburgparkday.com where contestants can download an information guide and application. For more information about the contest, contact Yeager at 304-424-8558 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Participants are encouraged to sign up early as space is limited. Applications will be accepted through Sept. 9.
Originally invented in 2005 by Rebar, a San Francisco-based art and design studio, PARK(ing) Day challenges people to rethink the way streets are used and reinforces the need for broad-based changes to urban infrastructure.
For more of the history of Park(ing) Day, visit www.parkingday.org.