In July, the Indianapolis chapter of Architecture for Humanity announced that it would be bringing PARK(ing) Day back to downtown Indianapolis on Sept. 17. A few days later it detailed meetings it had initiated with the Community Outreach Center in Indy’s Reagan Park neighborhood about the construction of a pocket park.
Now the two ventures have merged into one.
AFH Indy’s PARK(ing) Day materials — from sod, bricks and paving stones to plants, lumber and a unique shading structure — will be moved across town and reinstalled in a corner lot at the corner of 23rd and Guilford Street the following day.
“This was a no-brainer,” said AFH Indy founder ChunSheh Teo. “We were building a one-day park for PARK(ing) Day and Reagan Park was interested in a permanent park. This is a challenging and exciting design and build for our partners and us and we are investigating to see if this is a first-of-its-kind off-shoot of PARK(ing) Day.“
Among the partnering non-profit organizations are the U.S. Green Building Council, People for Urban Progress and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. In addition, three universities — Butler, IUPUI and Vincennes — are involved along with Borders Bookstore on Meridian Street, the site of AFH Indy’s PARK(ing) Day celebration.
The recipient of the permanent park — the Community Outreach Center — was established by the late Percy Scruggs in 1972 to combat problems unique to the Reagan Park neighborhood, which was beset with high crime and low income. Scruggs developed the Center on a shoestring budget, providing job training for adults, Bible clubs, activities and tutoring for youth and a food pantry.
The aforementioned shading structure is a first-of-its-kind donation from the People for Urban Progress. “In addition to AFH’s work, we’re excited that PUP can gift the Reagan Park community a shade structure made from the former roof material of the RCA Dome,” said PUP co-founder Maryanne O’Malley. “We anticipate that this will be the first of several shade structures and pavilions that will begin to populate several of our city’s parks, ensuring that the public can continue to benefit from this incredible resource.”
“We are thrilled that through AFH and Parking Day, the RCA Dome will have new life and bring new life to the Reagan Park community,” added O’Malley. “In conjunction with our mission to invest in engaging and responsible urban projects, we’re excited to be part of a first-of-its-kind PARK(ing) Day reuse event.”