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Park(ing) day creates space to promote greening Greenfield

GREENFIELD — We need to think small when it comes to developing a park, mini-parks or pocket parks as they’re known ... and think big when it comes to setting up one of those “parkettes” for just a day. That’s the lesson as Greenfield hosts one such pee-wee park in a Main Street parking space on Sept. 20, as part of an eighth annual worldwide Park(ing) Day event that tries to get people to re-imagine the possibilities of the urban landscape.

Greenfield’s event is planned for the parking space in front of The Brass Buckle at Main and Chapman streets.

Sponsored by the Greenfield Business Association, the Franklin Regional Council of Governments and the town’s Sustainable Master Plan Committee, the micro-park will be used to spread information about the Franklin County Bikeway, for which there will be new maps available, and for a master plan public workshop that’s scheduled for Sept. 26.

“It’s kind of a fun idea to spread the word about the topics,” said Jessica Atwood, the COG’s economic development planner. Sponsors will have refreshments, giveaways and activities for people who stop by the space that day between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., such as helping planners decide where around town to site new bike racks the COG is purchasing.

“This is a great way for people to allow people to stop and enjoy our downtown while learning about the Greenfield Sustainable Master Plan effort and the Franklin County Bikeway,” said Mayor William Martin. For the cost of a day’s lost revenue from a single parking meter, the town will use its makeshift park to promote the Sept. 26 meeting, planned for 4 to 7 p.m. outdoors at Court Square.

Atwood said the current plan is to get Astroturf for the space, with contingencies for a tent in case of rain.

But plans are still developing.

Greenfield’s parkette will be one of 975 in 162 cities on 35 countries, all promoting a wide range of civic-oriented goals. First launched in 2005 by the San Francisco-based art and design studio Rebar, the event is adapted by independent groups around globe who are championing creative, social or political causes relevant to local conditions.

Coincidentally, the event also coincide with Massachusetts Car Free Week next week, with events planned such as green commuting breakfast in Amherst, and a Park(ing) Day set up in Springfield, all to endorse the environmental, financial, community and health benefits of green travel options such as mass transit, bicycling, walking and carpooling.

On the Web: www.greenfieldmasterplan.com

www.parkingday.org

www.worldcarfree.net

You can reach Richie Davis at:
rdavis@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, Ext. 269

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