Mayor Jeremy Ferguson noted it was the perfect night to cut the ribbon on Milwaukie’s first “parklet,” since Sept. 19 was International Park(ing) Day, a day devoted to providing temporary public open space one parking spot at a time.
A crowd of about 50 people in front of Main Street’s Wine:30 watched Ferguson, Milwaukie Community Development Director Steve Butler and Wine:30 owner Jesse Cannelos put those golden scissors to good use. As Butler explained, a parklet is a temporary patio or deck built for outdoor seating that replaces several parking places in front of a business.
“The goal is to encourage activity and vibrancy” in the downtown area, he said.
The city’s Parklet Pilot Program is “here for two years, and I would like to thank Jesse for having the vision and persistence” to make it happen, Butler added.
Ferguson also thanked Cannelos for “begin such a great business owner; he embraces the spirit of Milwaukie and is an anchor in the community.” Cannelos told the crowd that he would donate $300 to any downtown business owner who wanted to build another parklet.
After they cut the ribbon, officially opening the parklet, guests flooded into the space at 10835 S.E. Main St., admiring the sturdy wooden flooring, tables, chairs, railings, ornamental lighting and planter baskets from Milwaukie Floral.
Milwaukie’s pilot economic-development project to build thriving business districts raised the interest of a handful of downtown business owners, but Cannelos was the first to act. He funded the effort with the help of an online Kickstarter campaign aiming for $7,500, which raised $9,261 through small contributions from individuals.