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Parking Spaces Transform Into Parks Around Annapolis

Five metered parking spaces in downtown Annapolis underwent transformations on Friday into five public parks.

Artists, designers and citizens transformed five metered parking spaces in downtown Annapolis into temporary public parks on Friday.

The compact parks were created as part of a global event called PARK(ing) Day, which is celebrated each year on the third Friday in September. The idea to create temporary parks in urban settings started in San Fransisco in 2005, but this was the first year anyone built one in Annapolis.

"I am committed to fostering an environment in which we are not afraid to try new things," Mayor Josh Cohen said in a press release. "Park(ing) Day in Annapolis is a great example of how the community and City Hall can come together to make cool things happen."

The parks were out from around 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. If you missed your chance to see them, here's a quick tour:

1) Zachary’s Jewelers—Bignell Watkins Hasser Architects
The architects from this Main Street Annapolis firm got together a created a chess set in front of Zachary's Jewelers and encouraged passersby to play. Architect Colleen Bathon said the idea for a chess set came about as a tongue and cheek reference to the Chesapeake Bay.

"We wanted to get the dialogue going that you don't always need so much space for parking, and we wanted to reclaim that space if only for a day," Batton said. 

2) City Dock—Maryland Society of Landscape Architects
Amanda Seydler brings her daughter Gracyn down to City Dock to feed the birds, but she didn't expect to spend the afternoon playing in a miniature park on City Dock.

"We usually go somewhere else for the parks," Seydler said. "I know she's going to miss this the next time we come down."

The park on City Dock featured bubbles, live music and a red, inflatable sphere that children took turns climbing inside and rolling around.

"The idea is very simple and it seems to catch people's attention," said Brian Vavrina, the landscape architect responsible for the park. "It gets them thinking about what these spaces could become."

3) Annebeth's—Eden Contracting
Folks wandering down Maryland Avenue could slip their shoes off and put their toes in the grass in front of Annebeth's were a parking space was covered with real sod, potted plants and a park bench.

"We had Johnnies studying in the grass, babies, dogs, out of towners with their plebe daughter," said Doug Sanner, who helped create the space. "We wanted people to have a space to sit, chat, exchange ideas and realize possibilities."

4) Tsunami—E-Landscape Specialty Solutions
The Davidsonville-based commercial landscaping company focused their park on showcasing different rainwater harvesting systems. When asked why they wanted to participate, Luke Alexander asked, "Why wouldn't we want to?"

The trio who spent the day in the "park" said they saw a steady stream of people—a number of whom stopped by to eat lunch.

"The building owner across the street was saying how cool it would be if we could extend the cafe out here everyday," Alexander said.

5) 49 West Coffeehouse—Garden Girls Landscaping
The rain barrels were the big conversation piece at this park, which focused on tips and tools for harvesting rainwater, said Garden Girls employee Cliff Manlapez. 

The Annapolis-based firm also had a number of lunch goers sitting around the table they placed inside their park on West Street. Manlapez said the day was a great experience and an innovative way to showcase what the company can do.

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