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BAF looks to bring 'parklets' to downtown Bryan

This article is brought to you by The Bryan Times

By Max Reinhart

May 20, 2022

Pictured is a rendering of a parklet to be installed in downtown Bryan. Courtesy image

A Bryan Area Foundation project aims to bring a public outdoor seating platform to downtown Bryan, possibly yet this year.

Amy Miller from the BAF spoke to city council about the project during council’s regular meeting on Friday.

She said the platforms — known as “parklets” — have grown in popularity around the U.S. over the past decade or so. In Ohio, they have been utilized in Cleveland, Columbus, Athens and recently in Bowling Green.

Miller described a parklet, also sometimes called street seats or curbside seating, as a “public seating platform that converts curbside parking spaces into vibrant community spaces.”

Some benefits would include increased social and economic engagement and enhanced aesthetics at a relatively inexpensive cost.

BAF would cover the cost of the structure and, once installed, gift it to be owned and maintained by the Bryan Development Foundation.

Miller said the parklet will be seasonal, installed in the spring and removed before the snowy season begins.

Plans initially called for wood but the builder instead has suggested a high-density plastic, often sold under the brand name Polywood.

“If it does get a milkshake spill on it it’s going to be easier to hose off,” Miller explained. “It’s not going to stain or, heaven forbid somebody spray paints it or does something to it, it’s going to be much easier to clean off.”

This initial parklet will be placed in front of Kora Brew House & Wine bar, taking the place of two or three parking spaces. Miller said the west side of the downtown square, on which Kora is located, tends to get a little less vehicle traffic, making it the safest option. Plus, she said, Kora ownership was extremely excited about the project.

City Engineer Brian Wieland said since the city won’t own it, its liability will be minimal. The city plans to draft legislation similar to what was approved in Bowling Green and it could be presented for council’s approval as soon as their next meeting, set for June 6.

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